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How the King found the girl playing at ball in the orchard." 










Copyright, 1910 



All rights reserved 


[ W . D . I >] 

C\f? I :'HE - H 




'WHAT cases are you engaged in at present?' 'Are 
you stopping many teeth just now?' 'What people 
have you converted lately?' Do ladies put these ques- 
tions to the men -- lawyers, dentists, clergymen, and 
so forth - - who happen to sit next them at dinner parties ? 

I do not know whether ladies thus indicate their in- 
terest in the occupations of their casual neighbours 
at the hospitable board. But if they do not know me, 
or do not know me well, they generally ask 'Are you 
writing anything now ? ' (as if they should ask a painter 
'Are you painting anything now?' or a lawyer 'Have 
you any cases at present?'). Sometimes they are more 
definite and inquire 'What are you writing now?' as 
if I must be writing something -- which, indeed, is the 
case, though I dislike being reminded of it. It is an 
awkward question, because the fair being does not care 
a bawbee what I am writing; nor would she be much 
enlightened if I replied 'Madam, I am engaged on a 
treatise intended to prove that Normal is prior to Con- 
ceptional Totemism ' - though that answer would be 
as true in fact as obscure in significance. The best plan 
seems to be to answer that I have entirely abandoned 
mere literature, and am contemplating a book on 'The 
Causes of Early Blight in the Potato,' a melancholy 


circumstance which threatens to deprive us of our chief 
esculent root. The inquirer would never be undeceived. 
One nymph who, like the rest, could not keep off the 
horrid topic of my occupation, said 'You never write 
anything but fairy books, do you?' A French gentle- 
man, too, an educationist and expert in portraits of 
Queen Mary, once sent me a newspaper article in which 
he had written that I was exclusively devoted to the 
composition of fairy books, and nothing else. He then 
came to England, visited me, and found that I knew 
rather more about portraits of Queen Mary than 
he did. 

In truth I never did write any fairy books in my 
life, except 'Prince Prigio,' 'Prince Ricardo,' and 'Tales 
from a Fairy Court ' - that of the aforesaid Prigio. 
I take this opportunity of recommending these fairy 
books poor things, but my own --to parents and 
guardians who may never have heard of them. They 
are rich in romantic adventure, and the Princes always 
marry the right Princesses and live happy ever after- 
wards; while the wicked witches, stepmothers, tutors 
and governesses are never cruelly punished, but retire 
to the country on ample pensions. I hate cruelty: I 
never put a wicked stepmother in a barrel and send 
her tobogganing down a hill. It is true that Prince 
Ricardo did kill the Yellow Dwarf; but that was in fair 
fight, sword in hand, and the dwarf, peace to his ashes! 
died in harness. 

The object of these confessions is not only that of 
advertising my own fairy books (which are not 'out of 
print'; if your bookseller says so, the truth is not in 
him), but of giving credit where credit is due. The 


fairy books have been almost wholly the work of Mrs. 
Lang, who has translated and adapted them from the 
French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, 
and other languages. 

My part has been that of Adam, according to Mark 
Twain, in the Garden of Eden. Eve worked, Adam 
superintended. I also superintend. I find out where 
the stories are, and advise, and, in short, superintend. 
/ do not write the stories out of my own head. The reputa- 
tion of having written all the fairy books (an European 
reputation in nurseries and the United States of Amer- 
ica) is 'the burden of an honour unto which I was not 
born.' It weighs upon and is killing me, as the general 
fash of being the wife of the Lord of Burleigh, Burleigh 
House by Stamford Town, was too much for the village 
maiden espoused by that peer. 

Nobody really wrote most of the stories. People told 
them in all parts of the world long before Egyptian 
hieroglyphics or Cretan signs or Cyprian syllabaries, or 
alphabets were invented. They are older than reading 
and writing, and arose like wild flowers before men had 
any education to quarrel over. The grannies told them 
to the grandchildren, and when the grandchildren be- 
came grannies they repeated the same old tales to the 
new generation. Homer knew the stories and made up 
the 'Odyssey' out of half a dozen of them. All the 
history of Greece till about 800 B.C. is a string of the 
fairy tales, all about Theseus and Heracles and Oedipus 
and Minos and Perseus is a Cabinet des Fees, a collection 
of fairy tales. Shakespeare took them and put bits of 
them into 'King Lear' and other plays; he could not 
have made them up himself, great as he was. Let ladies 


and gentlemen think of this when they sit down to write 
fairy tales, and have them nicely typed, and send them 
to Messrs. Longman & Co. to be published. They 
think that to write a new fairy tale is easy work. They 
are mistaken: the thing is impossible. Nobody can 
write a new fairy tale; you can only mix up and dress 
up the old, old stories, and put the characters into new 
dresses, as Miss Thackeray did so well in 'Five Old 
Friends.' If any big girl of fourteen reads this preface, 
let her insist on being presented with 'Five Old Friends.' 

But the three hundred and sixty-five authors who try 
to write new fairy tales are very tiresome. They always 
begin with a little boy or girl who goes out and meets 
the fairies of polyanthuses and gardenias and apple 
blossoms: 'Flowers and fruits, and other winged things.' 
These fairies try to be funny, and fail; or they try to 
preach, and succeed. Real fairies never preach or talk 
slang. At the end, the little boy or girl wakes up and 
finds that he has been dreaming. 

Such are the new fairy stories. May we be preserved 
from all the sort of them ! 

Our stories are almost all old, some from Ireland, 
before that island was as celebrated for her wrongs as 
for her verdure; some from Asia, made, I dare say, before 
the Aryan invasion; some from Moydart, Knoydart, 
Morar and Ardnamurchan, where the sea streams run 
like great clear rivers and the saw-edged hills are blue, 
and men remember Prince Charlie. Some are from 
Portugal, where the golden fruits grow in the Garden of 
the Hesperides; and some are from wild Wales, and 
were told at Arthur's Court; and others come from 
the firesides of the kinsmen of the Welsh, the Bretons. 


There are also modern tales by a learned Scandinavian 
named Topelius. 

All the stories were translated or adapted by Mrs. 
Lang, except 'The Jogi's Punishment' and 'Mod,' done 
by Major Campbell out of the Pushtoo language; 'How 
Brave Walter hunted Wolves,' which, with 'Little Lasse' 
and 'The Raspberry Worm,' was done from Topelius 
by Miss Harding; and 'The Sea King's Gift,' by Miss 
Christie, from the same author. 

It has been suggested to the Editor that children and 
parents and guardians would like 'The Grey True Ghost- 
Story Book.' He knows that the children would like 
it well, and he would gladly give it to them; but about 
the taste of fond anxious mothers and kind aunts he 
is not quite so certain. Before he was twelve the Editor 
knew true ghost stories enough to fill a volume. They 
were a pure joy till bedtime, but then, and later, were 
not wholly a source of unmixed pleasure. At that time 
the Editor was not afraid of the dark, for he thought, 
'If a ghost is here, we can't see him.' But when older 
and better informed persons said that ghosts brought 
their own light with them (which is too true), then one's 
emotions were such as parents do not desire the young 
to endure. For this reason 'The Grey True Ghost- 
Story Book ' is never likely to be illustrated by Mr. Ford. 

C N T E N T S 


The Shifty Lad ....... 1 

The False Prince and the True .... 22 

The Jogi's Punishment .... 31 

The Heart of a Monkey .... 42 

The Fairy Nurse . . . .54 

A Lost Paradise . 62 

How Brave Walter Hunted Wolves ... 67 

The King of the Waterfalls ..... 75 

A French Puck . .... 91 

The Three Crowns ..... 95 

The Story of a Very Bad Boy . . . .110 

The Brown Bear of Norway . . . . .118 

Little Lasse . ... 132 

'Moti' . . 141 

The Enchanted Deer ...... 151 

A Fish Story . 162 

The Wonderful Tune . . . . . .165 

The Rich Brother and the Poor Brother . . . 173 
The One-Handed Girl . . 185 

The Bones of Djulung ...... 209 

The Sea King's Gift . . 216 

The Raspberry Worm . . . . 229 

The Stones of Plouhinec .... 237 



The Castle of Kerglas 245 

The Battle of the Birds 262 

The Lady of the Fountain ..... 279 

The Four Gifts . . .... 299 

The Groac'h of the Isle of Lok .... 310 

The Escape of the Mouse .... 322 

The Believing Husbands ..... 332 

The Hoodie-Crow . . . . . . . 336 

The Brownie of the Lake . . . . .341 

The Winning of Olwen ..... 349 



How the King found the girl playing at 

ball in the orchard . . . Frontispiece 

When she stood upright her ugliness had 

all gone . . . To face p. 76 

The Sea-lady allures Maurice the Piper into 

the sea 170 

Peronnik in the Vale of Pleasure . 2v>6 

How Owen was found by the lake . " 292 

Indeed I will wed thee; a pretty creature is 

the Hoodie " 336 


The shoe in the road , To face p. 6 

How the black rogue was tricked 10 

The child finds out the truth . 14 
How the shifty lad was hung on Dublin 

Bridge " 18 
nhappily the hermit was not real I v as holv 

as he seemed " 32 

The Princess released from the box . " 36 
How John got his wife back from the 

fairies " 58 


The giant's shadow . . . To face p. 86 

Seven Inches carries away the princesses . 90 

Down went the two bridegrooms . . 104 

The Princess loses her first baby 120 

'Four long years I was married to thee;' . 128 

How the girl lost her hand . 188 

The King's son finds the girl in the tree . 192 

'My baby, my baby!' . 198 

The lady in black slays Rogear the magician 256 

How the king's son fetched the magpie's eggs 268 
How Owen first saw the Countess of the 

Fountain . " 286 
Kilwch arrives at the gate of Arthur's 

palace . . . "350 

Fair Olwen arrives . " 356 



The quarrel in the Tennis Court . . 23 

The terrible end of the Jogi . . .40 

The monkey feeds the shark . . . 43 

The monkey has a ride .... 46 

The donkey expected the lion would speak of their 

marriage ...... 49 

The fairies go off li'ith the farmer's wife . . 55 

How the Queen brings the shaggy brown horse to the 

King 79 

In came Seven Inches hand in hand with the youngest 

sister . . . . . ... 99 

He will make a splendid ram . . . . .112 

Some one at last awaked Moti . . .146 

Instead of a deer a woman with long black hair was 

standing there ..... .152 



She combed //is I/air with a golden comb, but his eyes 

opened not . . ... 155 

How the fish got into the water . 163 

The one-handed girl befriends a snake . . . 197 

The girl asks the snakes j'or the ring and casket . . 204 

The little girl and Djuliing-djulung .... 210 
How the iron tree, bowed down and the girl gave of its 

leaves and flowers to the king . . . .214 

How the sea-fairies brought a cow for Male . . 223 

How Lisa and Aina met the Raspberry King . . 233 

How Peronnik tricked the Viper-maned Lion . . 254 

How the king's son saved the raven from the snake . 263 

So the giant was drowned in the middle of the lake . . 275 

Kynon meets with the black master of the beasts . . 281 

'Come lawyer, come tailor, come miller, come singer 1 . 314 

How Bellah found Korandon ..... 318 
The Stag of Redynvre brings the Seven Companions to 

the Owl of Cwm Cawlwyd ..... 366 


IN the land of Erin there dwelt long ago a widow who 
had an only son. He was a clever boy, so she saved up 
enough money to send him to school, and, as soon as 
he was old enough, to apprentice him to any trade that 
he would chopse. But when the time came, he said he 
would not be bound to any trade, and that he meant to 
be a thief. 

Now his mother was very sorrowful when she heard 
of this, but she knew quite well that if she tried to stop 
his having his own way he would only grow more 
determined to get it. So all the answer she made was 
that the end of thieves was hanging at the bridge of 
Dublin, and then she left him alone, hoping that when 
he was older he might become more sensible. 

One day she was going to church to hear a sermon 
from a great preacher, and she begged the Shifty Lad, 
as the neighbours called him from the tricks he played, 
to come with her. But he only laughed and declared 
that he did not like sermons, adding: 

'However, I will promise you this, that the first trade 
you hear named after you come out from church shall 
be my trade for the rest of my life.' 

These words gave a little comfort to the poor woman, 
and her heart was lighter than before as she bade him 

When the Shifty Lad thought that the hour had 
nearly come for the sermon to be over, he hid himself in 
some bushes in a little path that led straight to his 
mother's house, and as she passed along, thinking of all 


the good things she had heard, a voice shouted close 
to her ear 'Robbery! Robbery! Robbery!' The sud- 
denness of it made her jump. The naughty boy had 
managed to change his voice, so that she did not know 
it for his, and he had concealed himself so well that, 
though she peered about all round her, she could see no 
one. As soon as she had turned the corner the Shifty 
Lad came out, and by running very fast through the 
wood he contrived to reach home before his mother, who 
found him stretched out comfortably before the fire. 

'Well, have you got any news to tell me?' asked 

'No, nothing; for I left the church at once, and did 
not stop to speak to anyone.' 

'Oh, then no one has mentioned a trade to you?' he 
said in tones of disappointment. 

'Ye es,' she replied slowly. 'At least, as I walked 
down the path a voice cried out "Robbery! Robbery! 
Robbery! " but that was all.' 

'And quite enough too,' answered the boy. 'What 
did I tell you? That is going to be my trade.' 

'Then your end will be hanging at the bridge of Dublin, ' 
said she. But there was no sleep for her that night, for 
she lay in the dark thinking about her son. 

'If he is to be a thief at all, he had better be a good 
one. And who is there that can teach him?' the mother 
asked herself. But an idea came to her, and she arose 
early, before the sun was up, and set off for the home 
of the Black Rogue, or Gallows Bird, who was such a 
wonderful thief that, though all had been robbed by him, 
no one could catch him. 

'Good-morning to you,' said the woman as she 
reached the place where the Black Gallows Bird lived 
when he was not away on his business. 'My son has a 
fancy to learn your trade. Will you be kind enough to 
teach him?' 


'If he is clever, I don't mind trying,' answered the 
Black Gallows Bird; 'and, of course, if any one can 
turn him into a first-rate thief, it is I. But if he is stupid, 
it is no use at all; I can't bear stupid people.' 

'No, he isn't stupid,' said the woman with a sigh. 
'So to-night, after dark, I will send him to you.' 

The Shifty Lad jumped for joy when his mother told 
him where she had been. 

'I will become the best thief in all Erin!' he cried, 
and paid no heed when his mother shook her head and 
murmured something about 'the bridge of Dublin.' 

Every evening after dark the Shifty Lad went to the 
home of the Black Gallows Bird, and many were the 
new tricks he learned. By and bye he was allowed to 
go out with the Bird and watch him at work, and at 
last there came a day when his master thought that he 
had grown clever enough to help in a big robbery. 

'There is a rich farmer up there on the hill, who has 
just sold all his fat cattle for much money and has bought 
some lean ones which will cost him little. Now it hap- 
pens that, while he has received the money for the fat 
cattle, he has not yet paid the price of the thin ones, 
which he has in the cowhouse. To-morrow he will go 
to the market with the money in his hand, so to-night we 
must get at the chest. When all is quiet we will hide 
in the loft.' 

There was no moon, and it was the night of Hallow- 
e'en, and everyone was burning nuts and catching apples 
in a tub of water with their hands tied, and playing all 
sorts of other games, till the Shifty Lad grew quite tired 
of waiting for them to get to bed. The Black Gallows 
Bird, who was more accustomed to the business, tucked 
himself up on the hay and went to sleep, telling the boy 
to wake him when the merry-makers had departed. 
But the Shifty Lad, who could keep still no longer, 
crept down to the cowshed and loosened the heads of 
the cattle which were tied, and they began to kick each 


other and bellow, and made such a noise that the com- 
pany in the farmhouse ran out to tie them up again. 
Then the Shifty Lad entered the room and picked up a 
big handful of nuts, and returned to the loft, where the 
Black Rogue was still sleeping. At first the Shifty Lad 
shut his eyes too, but very soon he sat up, and, taking a 
big needle and thread from his pocket, he sewed the 
hem of the Black Gallows Bird's coat to a heavy piece 
of bullock's hide that was hanging at his back. 

By this time the cattle were all tied up again, but as 
the people could not find their nuts they sat round the 
fire and began to tell stories. 

'I will crack a nut,' said the Shifty Lad. 

'You shall not,' cried the Black Gallows Bird; 'they 
will hear you. ' 

'I don't care,' answered the Shifty Lad. 'I never spent 
Hallowe'en yet without cracking a nut'; and he cracked 

'Some one is cracking nuts up there,' said one of the 
merry-makers in the farmhous^!. 'Come quickly, and 
we will see who it is.' 

He spoke loudly, and the Black Gallows Bird heard, 
and ran out of the loft, dragging the big leather hide 
after him which the Shifty Lad had sewed to his coat. 

'He is stealing my hide!' shouted the farmer, and 
they all darted after him; but he was too swift for them, 
and at last he managed to tear the hide from his coat, 
and then he flew like a hare till he reached his old hiding- 
place. But all this took a long time, and meanwhile 
the Shifty Lad got down from the loft, and searched 
the house till he found the chest with the gold and silver 
in it, concealed behind a load of straw and covered with 
loaves of bread and a great cheese. The Shifty Lad 
slung the money bags round his shoulders and took the 
bread and the cheese under his arm, then set out 
quietly for the Black Rogue's house. 


' Here you are at last, you villain ! ' cried his master 
in great wrath. 'But I will be revenged on you.' 

'It is all right,' replied the Shifty Lad calmly. 'I 
have brought what you wanted'; and he laid the things 
he was carrying down on the ground. 

'Ah! you are the better thief,' said the Black Rogue's 
wife; and the Black Rogue added: 

'Yes, it is you who are the clever boy'; and they 
divided the spoil, and the Black Gallows Bird had one 
half and the Shifty Lad the other half. 

A few weeks after that the Black Gallows Bird had 
news of a wedding that was to be held near the town; 
and the bridegroom had many friends and everybody 
sent him a present. Now a rich farmer who lived up 
near the moor thought that nothing was so useful to a 
young "couple when they first began to keep house as a 
fine fat sheep, so he bade his shepherd go off to the moun- 
tain where the flock were feeding, and bring him back the 
best he could find. And the shepherd chose out the largest 
and fattest of the sheep and the one with the whitest 
fleece; then he tied its feet together and put it across his 
shoulder, for he had a long way to go. 

That day the Shifty Lad happened to be wandering 
over the moor, when he saw the man with the sheep on 
his shoulder walking along the road which led past the 
Black Rogue's house. The sheep was heavy and the 
man was in no hurry, so he came slowly and the boy 
knew that he himself could easily get back to his master 
before the shepherd was even in sight. 

'I will wager,' he cried, as he pushed quickly through 
the bushes which hid the cabin - - ' I will wager that I 
will steal the sheep from the man that is coming before 
he passes here.' 

'Will you indeed?' said the Gallows Bird. 'I will 
wager you a hundred silver pieces that you can do nothing 
of the sort.' 


'Well, I will try it, anyway,' replied the boy, and 
disappeared in the bushes. He ran fast till he entered 
a wood through which the shepherd must go, and then 
he stopped, and taking off one of his shoes smeared it 
with mud and set it in the path. When this was done 
he slipped behind a rock and waited. 

Very soon the man came up, and, seeing the shoe 
lying there, he stopped and looked at it. 

'It is a good shoe,' he said to himself, 'but very 
dirty. Still, if I had the fellow, I would be at the 
trouble of cleaning it ' ; so he threw the shoe down again 
and went on. 

The Shifty Lad smiled as he heard him, and, picking 
up the shoe, he crept round by a short way and laid the 
other shoe on the path. A few minutes after the 
shepherd arrived, and beheld the second shoe lying on 
the path. 

' Why, that is the fellow of the dirty shoe ! ' he 
exclaimed when he saw it. 'I will go back and pick 
up the other one, and then I shall have a pair of good 
shoes,' and he put the sheep on the grass and returned 
to fetch the shoe. Then the Shifty Lad put on his shoes, 
and, picking up the sheep, carried it home. And the 
Black Rogue paid him the hundred marks of his 


When the shepherd reached the farmhouse that night 
he told his tale to his master, who scolded him for being 
stupid and careless, and bade him go the next day to the 
mountain and fetch him a kid, and he would send that 
as a wedding gift. But the Shifty Lad was on the look- 
out, and hid himself in the wood, and the moment the 
man drew near with the kid on his shoulders began to 
bleat like a sheep, and no one, not even the sheep's 
own mother, could have told the difference. 

'Why, it must have got its feet loose, and have 
strayed after all,' thought the man; and he put the 
kid on the grass and hurried off in the direction of the 


bleating. Then the boy ran back and picked up the 
kid, and took it to the Black Gallows Bird. 

The shepherd could hardly believe his eyes when he 
returned from seeking the sheep and found that the 
kid had vanished. He was afraid to go home and tell 
the same tale that he had told yesterday; so he searched 
the wood through and through till night was nearly 
come. Then he felt that there was no help for it, and 
he must go home and confess to his master. 

Of course, the farmer was very angry at this second 
misfortune; but this time he told him to drive one of 
the big bulls from the mountain, and warned him that 
if he lost that he would lose his place also. Again the 
Shifty Lad, who was on the watch, perceived him pass 
by, and when he saw the man returning with the great 
bull he cried to the Black Rogue: 

'Be quick and come into the wood, and we will try 
and get the bull also.' 

'But how can we do that?' asked the Black 

'Oh, quite easily! You hide yourself out there and 
baa like a sheep, and I will go in the other direction 
and bleat like a kid. It will be all right, I assure you.' 

The shepherd was walking slowly, driving the bull 
before him, when he suddenly heard a loud baa amongst 
the bushes far away on one side of the path, and a feeble 
bleat answering it from the other side. 

'Why, it must be the sheep and the kid that I lost,' 
said he. 'Yes, surely it must'; and tying the bull 
hastily to a tree, he went off after the sheep and the 
kid, and searched the wood till he was tired. Of course 
by the time he came back the two thieves had driven 
the bull home and killed him for meat, so the man was 
obliged to go to his master and confess that he had been 
tricked again. 

After this the Black Rogue and the Shifty Lad grew 


bolder and bolder, and stole great quantities of cattle 
and sold them and grew quite rich. One day they were 
returning from the market with a large sum of money 
in their pockets when they passed a gallows erected on 
the top of a hill. 

'Let. us stop and look at that gallows,' exclaimed 
the Shifty Lad. 'I have never seen one so close before. 
Yet some say that it is the end of all thieves.' 

There was no one in sight, and they carefully examined 
every part of it. 

'I wonder how it feels to be hung,' said the Shifty 
Lad. 'I should like to know, in case they ever catch 
me. I'll try first, and then you can do so.' 

As he spoke he fastened the loose cord about his neck, 
and when it was quite secure he told the Black Rogue to 
take the other end of the rope and draw him up from 
the ground. 

'When I am tired of it I will shake my legs, and then 
you must let me down,' said he. 

The Black Rogue drew up the rope, but in half a 
minute the Shifty Lad's legs began to shake, and he 
quickly let it down again. 

'You can't imagine what a funny feeling hanging 
gives you,' murmured the Shifty Lad, who looked rather 
purple in the face and spoke in an odd voice. 'I don't 
think you have ever tried it, or you wouldn't have let 
me go up first. Why, it is the pleasantest thing, I have 
ever done. I was shaking my legs from sheer delight, 
and if you had been there you would have shaken your 
legs too.' 

'Well, let me try, if it is so nice,' answered the Black 
Rogue. 'But be sure you tie the knot securely, for I 
don't want to fall down and break my neck.' 

'Oh, I will see to that!' replied the Shifty Lad. 
'When you are tired, just whistle, and I'll let you 

So the Black Rogue was drawn up, and as soon as 


he was as high as the rope would allow him to go the 
Shifty Lad called to him : 

'Don't forget to whistle when you want to come down; 
but if you are enjoying yourself as I did, shake 
your legs.' 

And in a moment the Black Rogue's legs began to shake 
and to kick, and the Shifty Lad stood below, watching 
him and laughing heartily. 

'Oh, how funny you are! If you could only see your- 
self! Oh, you arc funny! But when you have had 
enough, whistle and you shall be let down'; and he 
rocked again with laughter. 

But no whistle came, and soon the legs ceased to 
shake and to kick, for the Black Gallows Bird was dead, 
as the Shifty Lad intended he should be. 

Then he went home to the Black Rogue's wife, and 
told her that her husband was dead, and that he was 
ready to marry her if she liked. But the woman had 
been fond of the Black Rogue, thief though he was, and 
she shrank from the Shifty Lad in horror, and set the 
people after him, and he had to fly to another part of 
the country where none knew of his doings. 

Perhaps if the Shifty Lad's mother knew anything 
of all this, she may have thought that by this time her 
son might be tired of stealing, and ready to try some 
honest trade. But in reality he loved the tricks and 
danger, and life would have seemed very dull without 
them. So he went on just as before^ and made friends 
whom he taught to be as wicked as himself, till they took 
to robbing the king's storehouses, and by the advice 
of the Wise Man the king sent out soldiers to catch 
the band of thieves. 

For a long while they tried in vain to lay hands on 
them. The Shifty Lad was too clever for them all, and 
if they laid traps he laid better ones. At last one night 
he stole upon some soldiers while they were asleep in a 


barn and killed them, and persuaded the villagers that 
if they did not kill the other soldiers before morning 
they would certainly be killed themselves. Thus it 
happened that when the sun rose not a single soldier 
was alive in the village. 

Of course this news soon reached the king's ears, and 
he was very angry, and summoned the Wise Man to 
take counsel with him. And this was the counsel of 
the Wise Man - - that he should invite all the people in the 
countryside to a ball, and among them the bold and 
impudent thief would be sure to come, and would be 
sure to ask the king's daughter to dance with him. 

'Your counsel is good,' said the king, who made his 
feast and prepared for his ball; and all the people of 
the countryside were present, and the Shifty Lad came 
with them. 

When everyone had eaten and drunk as much as 
they wanted they went into the ballroom. There was 
a great throng, and while they were pressing through 
the doorway the Wise Man, who had a bottle of black 
ointment hidden in his robes, placed a tiny dot on the 
cheek of the Shifty Lad near his ear. The Shifty Lad 
felt nothing, but as he approached the king's daughter 
to ask her to be his partner he caught sight of the black 
dot in a silver mirror. Instantly he guessed who had 
put it there and why, but he said nothing, and danced 
so beautifully that the princess was quite delighted with 
him. At the end of the dance he bowed low to 
his partner and left her, to mingle with the crowd that 
was filling the doorway. As he passed the Wise Man 
he contrived not only to steal the bottle, but to place 
two black dots on his face, and one on the faces of twenty 
other men. Then he slipped the bottle back in the 
Wise Man's robe. 

By and bye he went up to the king's daughter again, 
and begged for the honour of another dance. She con- 
sented, and while he was stooping to tie the ribbons 


on his shoe she took out from her pocket another bottle, 
which the Wizard had given her, and put a black dot 
on his cheek. But she was not as skilful as the Wise 
Man, and the Shifty Lad felt the touch of her fingers; 
so as soon as the dance was over he contrived to place 
a second black dot on the faces of the twenty men and 
two more on the Wizard, after which he slipped the 
bottle into her pocket. 

At length the ball came to an end, and then the king 
ordered all the doors to be shut, and search made for a 
man with two black dots on his cheek. The chamberlain 
went among the guests, and soon found such a man, but 
just as he was going to arrest him and bring him before 
the king his eye fell on another with the same mark, 
and another, and another, till he had counted twenty 
- besides the Wise Man on whose face were 
found spots. 

Not knowing what to do, the chamberlain hurried 
back with his tale to the king, who immediately sent for 
the Wise Man, and then for his daughter. 

'The thief must have stolen your bottle,' said the 
king to the Wizard. 

'No, my lord, it is here,' answered the Wise Man, 
holding it out. 

'Then he must have got yours,' he cried, turning to 
his daughter. 

'Indeed, father, it is safe in my pocket,' replied she, 
taking it out as she spoke; and they all three looked at 
each other and remained silent. 

'Well,' said the king at last, 'the man who has done 
this is cleverer than most men, and if he will make him- 
self known to me he shall marry the princess and govern 
half my kingdom while I am alive, and the whole 
of it when I am dead. Go and announce this in 
the ballroom,' he added to an attendant, 'and bring 
the fellow hither.' 


So the attendant went into the ballroom and did as 
the king had bidden him, when, to his surprise, not one 
man, but twenty, stepped forward, all with black dots 
on their faces. 

'I am the person you want,' they all exclaimed at 
once, and the attendant, as much bewildered as the 
chamberlain had been, desired them to follow him into 
the king's presence. 

But the question was too difficult for the king to 
decide, so he called together his council. For hours 
they talked, but to no purpose, and in the end they 
hit upon a plan which they might just as well have 
thought of at the beginning. 

And this was the plan. A child was to be brought 
to the palace, and next the king's daughter would give 
her an apple. Then the child was to take the apple 
and be led into a room where the twenty men with the 
black dots were sitting in a ring. And to whomsoever 
the child gave the apple, that man should marry the 
king's daughter. 

'Of course,' said the king, 'it may not be the right 
man, after all, but then again it may be. Anyhow, it is 
the best we can do.' 

The princess herself led the child into the room where 
the twenty men were now seated. She stood in the 
centre of the ring for a moment, looking at one man 
after another, and then held out the apple to the Shifty 
Lad, who was twisting a shaving of wood round his finger, 
and had the mouthpiece of a bagpipe hanging from 
his neck. 

'You ought not to have anything which the others 
have not got,' said the chamberlain, who had accom- 
panied the princess; and he bade the child stand outside 
for a minute, while he took away the shaving and the 
mouthpiece, and made the Shifty Lad change his place. 
Then he called the child in, but the little girl knew 
him again, and went straight up to him with the apple. 


'This is the man whom the child has twice chosen,' 
said the' chamberlain, signing to the Shifty Lad to kneel 
before the king. 'It was all quite fair; we tried it twice 
over.' In this way the Shifty Lad won the king's daugh- 
ter, and they were married the next day. 

A few days later the bride and bridegroom were taking 
a walk together, and the path led down to the river, 
and over the river was a bridge. 

'And what bridge may this be?' asked the Shifty 
Lad; and the princess told him that this was the bridge 
of Dublin. 

'Is it indeed?' cried he. 'Well, now, many is the 
time that my mother has said, when I played her a 
trick that my end would be that I should hang on the 
bridge of Dublin.' 

'Oh, if you want to fulfil her prophecies,' laughed the 
princess, 'you have only to let me tie my handkerchief 
round your ankle, and I will hold you as you hang over 
the wall of the bridge.' 

'That would be fine fun,' said he; 'but you are not 
strong enough to hold me up.' 

'Oh yes, I am,' said the princess; 'just try.' So at 
last he let her bind the handkerchief round his ankle 
and hang him over the wall, and they both laughed and 
jested at the strength of the princess. 

'Now pull me up again,' called he; but as he spoke 
a great cry arose that the palace was burning. The 
princess turned round with a start, and let go her hand- 
kerchief, and the Shifty Lad fell, and struck his head 
on a stone, and died in an instant. 

So his mother's prophecy had come true, after all. 

West Highland Tales. 


THE king had just awakened from his midday sleep, 
for it was summer, and everyone rose early and rested 
from twelve to three, as they do in hot countries. He 
had dressed himself in cool white clothes, and was passing 
through the hall on his way to the council chamber, when 
a number of young nobles suddenly appeared before 
him, and one amongst them stepped forward and 

'Sire, this morning we were all playing tennis in the 
court, the prince and this gentleman with the rest, when 
there broke out some dispute about the game. The 
prince lost his temper, and said many insulting things 
to the other, who was playing against him, till at length 
the gentleman whom you see there struck him violently 
in the face, so that the blood ran from his mouth and 
nose. We were all so horrified at the sight, that we 
should most likely have killed the man then and there, 
for daring to lay hands on the prince, had not his grand- 
father the duke stepped between and commanded us 
to lay the affair before you.' 

The king had listened attentively to the story, and 
when it was ended he said : 

'I suppose the prince had no arms with him, or else 
he would have used them?' 

'Yes, sire, he had arms; he always carries a dagger 
in his belt. But when he saw the blood pouring from 
his face, he went to a corner of the court and began to 
cry, which was the strangest thing of all.' 

On hearing this the king walked to the window and 


stood for a few minutes with his back to the room, where 
the company of young men remained silent. Then he 
came back, his face white and stern. 

T"he Quaortel In the. Tennis Cou^-t" 

'I tell you,' he said, 'and it is the solemn truth, that 
I would rather you had told me that the prince 
was dead, though he is my only son, than know that he 


would suffer such an injury without attempting to avenge 
it. As for the gentleman who struck him, he will 
be brought before my judges, and will plead his own 
cause, but I hardly think he can escape death, after 
having assaulted the heir to the crown.' 

The young man raised his head as if to reply, but 
the king would not listen, and commanded his guards 
to put him under arrest, adding, however, that if the 
prisoner wished to visit any part of the city, he was at 
liberty to do so properly guarded, and in fifteen days 
he would be brought to trial before the highest judges 
in the land. 

The young man left the king's presence, surrounded 
by soldiers, and accompanied by many of his friends, 
for he was a great favourite. By their advice he spent 
the fourteen days that remained to him going about to 
seek counsel from wise men of all sorts, as to how he 
might escape death, but no one could help him, for 
none could find any excuse for the blow he had given 
to the prince. 

The fourteenth night had come, and in despair the 
prisoner went out to take his last walk through the city. 
He wandered on hardly knowing where he went, "and 
his face was so white and desperate that none of his 
companions dared speak to him. The sad little pro- 
cession had passed some hours in this manner, when, 
near the gate of a monastery, an old woman appeared 
round a corner, and suddenly stood before the young 
man. She was bent almost double, and was so wizened 
and wrinkled that she looked at least ninety; only her 
eyes were bright and quick as those of a girl. 

'Sir,' she said, 'I know all that has happened to you, 
and how you are seeking if in any wise you can save your 
life. But there is none that can answer that ques- 
tion save only I myself, if you will promise to do 
all I ask.' 


At her words the prisoner felt as if a load had all at 
once been rolled off him. 

'Oh, save me, and I will do anything! ' he cried. 'It is 
so hard to leave the world and go out into the darkness.' 

'You will not need to do that,' answered the old 
woman, 'you have only got to marry me, and you will 
soon be free.' 

'Marry you?' exclaimed he, 'but --but-- 1 am not 
yet twenty, and you - - why, you must be a hundred at 
least! Oh, no, it is quite impossible.' 

He spoke without thinking, but the flash of anger 
which darted from her eyes made him feel uncomfort- 
able. However, all she said was: 

'As you like; since you reject me, let the crows have 
you,' and hurried away down the street. 

Left to himself, the full horror of his coming death 
rushed upon the young man, and he understood that 
he had thrown away his sole chance of life. Well, if 
he must, he must, he said to himself, and began to run 
as fast as he could after the old crone, who by this time 
could scarcely be seen, even in the moonlight. Who 
would have believed a woman past ninety could walk 
with such speed? It seemed more like flying! But 
at length, breathless and exhausted, he reached her 
side, and gasped out: 

'Madam, pardon me for my hasty words just now; 
I was wrong, and will thankfully accept the offer you 
made me.' 

'Ah, I thought you would come to your senses,' 
answered she, in rather an odd voice. 'We have no 
time to lose follow me at once,' and they went on 
silently and swiftly till they stopped at the door of a 
small house in which the priest lived. Before him the 
old woman bade the prisoner swear that she should 
be his wife, and this he did in the presence of witnesses. 
Then, begging the priest and the guards to leave them 


alone for a little, she told the young man what he was 
to do, when the next morning he was brought before 
the king and the judges. 

The hall was full to overflowing when the prisoner 
entered it, and all marvelled at the brightness of his face. 
The king inquired if he had any excuse to plead for the 
high treason he had committed by striking the heir to 
the throne, and, if so, to be quick in setting it forth. 
With a low bow the youth made answer in a clear voice: 

'0 my lord and gracious king, and you, nobles and 
wise men of the land, I leave my cause without fear 
in your hands, knowing that you will listen and judge 
rightly, and that you will suffer me to speak to the end, 
before you give judgment. 

'For four years, you, O king, had been married to 
the queen and yet had no children, which grieved you 
greatly. The queen saw this, and likewise that your 
love was going from her, and thought night and day of 
some plan that might put an end to this evil. At length, 
when you were away fighting in distant countries, 
she decided what she would do, and adopted in secret 
the baby of a poor quarryman, sending a messenger 
to tell you that you had a son. No one suspected the 
truth except a priest to whom the queen confessed the 
truth, and in a few weeks she fell ill and died, leaving 
the baby to be brought up as became a prince. And 
now, if your highness will permit me, I will speak 
of myself.' 

'What you have already told me,' answered the king, 
'is so strange that I cannot imagine what more there is 
to tell, but go on with your story.' 

'One day, shortly after the death of the queen,' con- 
tinued the young man, 'your highness was hunting, 
and outstripped all your attendants while chasing the 
deer. You were in a part of the country which you did 
not know, so seeing an orchard all pink and white with 


apple-blossoms, and a girl tossing a ball in one corner, 
you went up to her to ask your way. But when she 
turned to answer you, you were so struck with her beauty 
that all else fled from your mind. Again and again 
you rode back to see her, and at length persuaded her 
to marry you. She only thought you a poor knight, 
and agreed that, as you wished it, the marriage should 
be kept secret. 

'After the ceremony you gave her three rings and a 
charm with a cross on it, and then put her in a cottage in 
the forest, thinking to hide the matter securely. 

'For some months you visited the cottage every week; 
but a rebellion broke out in a distant part of the king- 
dom, and called for your presence. When next you rode 
up to the cottage, it was empty, and none could inform 
you whither your bride had gone. That, sire, I can 
now tell you,' and the young man paused and looked 
at the king, who coloured deeply. 'She went back 
to her father the old duke, once your chamberlain, and 
the cross on her breast revealed at once who you were. 
Fierce was his anger when he heard his daughter's tale, 
and he vowed that he would hide her safely from you, 
till the day came when you would claim her publicly as 
your queen. 

'By and bye I was born, and was brought up by 
my grandfather in one of his great houses. Here are 
the rings you gave to my mother, and here is the cross, 
and these will prove if I am your son or not.' 

As he spoke the young man laid the jewels at the 
feet of the king, and the nobles and the judges pressed 
round to examine them. The king alone did not move 
from his seat, for he had forgotten the hall of justice and 
all about him, and saw only the apple-orchard as it 
was twenty years ago, and the beautiful girl playing 
at ball. A sudden silence round him made him look 
up, and he found the eyes of the assembly fixed on him. 

'It is true; it is he who is my son, and not the other,' 


he said with an effort, 'and let every man present swear 
to acknowledge him as king, after my death.' 

Therefore one by one they all knelt before him and 
took the oath, and a message was sent to the false prince, 
forbidding him ever again to appear at court, though 
a handsome pension was granted him. 

At last the ceremony was over, and the king, signing 
to his newly found son to follow him, rose and went 
into another room. 

'Tell me how you knew all that,' he said, throwing 
himself into a carved chair filled with crimson cushions, 
and the prince told of his meeting with the old woman 
who had brought him the jewels from his mother, and 
how he had sworn before a priest to marry her, though 
he did not want to do it, on account of the difference 
in their ages, and besides, he would rather receive a 
bride chosen by the king himself. But the king frowned, 
and answered sharply: 

'You swore to marry her if she saved your life, and, 
come what may, you must fulfil your promise.' Then, 
striking a silver shield that hung close by, he said to 
the equerry who appeared immediately: 

' Go and seek the priest who lives near the door of 
the prison, and ask him where you can find the old 
woman who visited him last night; and when you have 
found her, bring her to the palace.' 

It took some time to discover the whereabouts of 
the old woman, but at length it was accomplished, and 
when she arrived at the palace with the equerry, she 
was received with royal honours, as became the bride 
of the prince. The guards looked at each other with 
astonished eyes, as the wizened creature, bowed with 
age, passed between their lines; but they were more 
amazed still at the lightness of her step as she skipped 
up the steps to the great door before which the king 


was standing, with the prince at his side. If they both 
felt a shock at the appearance of the aged lady they 
did not show it, and the king, with a grave bow, took 
her hand, and led her to the chapel, where a bishop 
was waiting to perform the marriage ceremony. 

For the next few weeks little was seen of the prince, 
who spent all his days in hunting, and trying to forget 
the old wife at home. As for the princess, no one troubled 
himself about her, and she passed the days alone in her 
apartments, for she had absolutely declined the services 
of the ladies-in-waiting whom the king had appointed 
for her. 

One night the prince returned after a longer chase 
than usual, and he was so tired that he went up straight 
to bed. Suddenly he was awakened by a strange noise 
in the room, and suspecting that a robber might have 
stolen in, he jumped out of bed, and seized his sword, 
which lay ready to his hand. Then he perceived that 
the noise proceeded from the next room, which belonged 
to the princess, and was lighted by a burning torch. 
Creeping softly to the door, he peeped through it, and 
beheld her lying quietly, with a crown of gold and 
pearls upon her head, her wrinkles all gone, and her 
face, which was whiter than the snow, as fresh as that 
of a girl of fourteen. Could that really be his wife - 
that beautiful, beautiful creature? 

The prince was still gazing in surprise when the 
lady opened her eyes and smiled at him. 

'Yes, I really am your wife,' she said, as if she had 
guessed his thoughts, 'and the enchantment is ended. 
Now I must tell you who I am, and what befell to cause 
me to take the shape of an old woman. 

'The king of Granada is my father, and I was born 
in the palace which overlooks the plain of the Vega. 
I was only a few months old when a wicked fairy, who 
had a spite against my parents, cast a spell over me, 


bending my back and wrinkling my skin till I looked 
as if I was a hundred years old, and making me such an 
object of disgust to everyone, that at length the king 
ordered my nurse to take me away from the palace. 
She was the only person who cared about me, and we 
lived together in this city on a small pension allowed 
me by the king. 

'When I was about three an old man arrived at our 
house, and begged my nurse to let him come in and 
rest, as he could walk no longer. She saw that he was 
very ill, so put him to bed and took such care of him 
that by and bye he was as strong as ever. In gratitude 
for her goodness to him, he told her that he was 
a wizard and could give her anything she chose to ask 
for, except life or death, so she answered that what 
she longed for most in the world was that my wrinkled 
skin should disappear, and that I should regain the 
beauty with which I was born. To this he replied that 
as my misfortune resulted from a spell, this was rather 
difficult, but he would do his best, and at any rate he 
could promise that before my fifteenth birthday I should 
be freed from the enchantment if I could get a man 
who would swear to marry me as I was. 

'As you may suppose, this was not easy, as my 
ugliness was such that no one would look at me a second 
time. My nurse and I were almost in despair, as my 
fifteenth birthday was drawing near, and I had never 
so much as spoken to a man. At last we received a 
visit from the wizard, who told us what had happened 
at court, and your story, bidding me to put myself in 
your way when you had lost all hope, and offer to save 
you if you would consent to marry me. 

'That is my history, and now you must beg the king 
to send messengers at once to Granada, to inform my 
father of our marriage, and I think,' 1 she added with a 
smile, 'that he will not refuse us his blessing.' 
Adapted from the Portuguese. 


ONCE upon a time there came to the ancient city of 
Rahmatabad a jogi 1 of holy appearance, who took up 
his abode under a tree outside the city, where he 
would sit for days at a time fasting from food and drink, 
motionless except for the fingers that turned restlessly 
his string of beads. The fame of such holiness as this 
soon spread, and daily the citizens would flock to see 
him, eager to get his blessing, to watch his devotions, or 
to hear his teaching, if he were in the mood to speak. 
Very soon the rajah himself heard of the jogi, and began 
regularly to visit him to seek his counsel and to ask 
his prayers that a son might be vouchsafed to him. 
Days passed by, and at last the rajah became so pos- 
sessed with the thought of the holy man that he deter- 
mined if possible to get him all to himself. So he built 
in the neighbourhood a little shrine, with a room or two 
added to it, and a small courtyard closely walled up; 
and, when all was ready, besought the jogi to occupy it, 
and to receive no other visitors except himself and his 
queen and such pupils as the jogi might choose, who 
would hand down his teaching. To this the jogi con- 
sented; and thus he lived for some time upon the king's 
bounty, whilst the fame of his godliness grew day by 

Now, although the rajah of Rahmatabad had no 

son, he possessed a daughter, who as she grew up became 

the most beautiful creature that eye ever rested upon. 

Her father had long before betrothed her to the son of 

1 A Hindu holy man. 


the neighbouring rajah of Dilaram, but as yet she had 
not been married to him, and lived the quiet life proper 
to a maiden of her beauty and position. The princess 
had of course heard of the holy man and of his miracles 
and. his fastings, and she was filled with curiosity to 
see and to speak to him; but this was difficult, since 
she was not allowed to go out except into the palace 
grounds, and then was always closely guarded. How- 
ever, at length she found an opportunity, and made 
her way one evening alone to the hermit's shrine. 

Unhappily, the hermit was not really as holy as he 
seemed; for no sooner did he see the princess than he 
fell in love with her wonderful beauty, and began to 
plot in his heart how he could win her for his wife. 
But the maiden was not only beautiful, she was also 
shrewd; and as soon as she read in the glance of the 
jogi the love that filled his soul, she sprang to her feet, 
and, gathering her veil about her, ran from the place as 
fast as she could. The jogi tried to follow, but he was 
no match for her; so, beside himself with rage at finding 
that he could not overtake her, he flung at her a lance, 
which wounded her in the leg. The brave princess 
stooped for a second to pluck the lance out of the 
wound, and then ran on until she found herself safe at 
home again. There she bathed and bound up the 
wound secretly, and told no one how naughty she had 
been, for she knew that her father would punish 
her severely. 

Next day, when the king went to visit the jogi, the 
holy man would neither speak to nor look at him. 

'What is the matter?' asked the king. 'Won't you 
speak to me to-day?' 

'I have nothing to say that you would care to hear,' 
answered the jogi. 

' Why?' said the king. ' Surely you know that I value 
all that you say, whatever it may be.' 

But still the jogi sat with his face turned away, and 

ub^?e Xgrnyst" tDas T>ct reaTto 


the more the king pressed him the more silent and 
mysterious he became. At last, after much persuasion, 
he said : 

'Let me tell you, then, that there is in this city a 
creature which, if you do not put an end to it, will kill 
every single person in the place.' 

The king, who was easily frightened, grew pale. 

'What,' he gasped-- 'what is this dreadful thing? 
How am I to know it and to catch it? Only counsel 
me and help me, and I will do all that you advise.' 

'Ah!' replied the jogi, 'it is indeed dreadful. It is 
in the shape of a beautiful girl, but it is really an evil 
spirit. Last evening it came to visit me, and when I 
looked upon it its beauty faded into hideousness, its 
teeth became horrible fangs, its eyes glared like coals 
of fire, great claws sprang from its slender fingers, and 
were I not what I am it might have consumed me.' 

The king could hardly speak from alarm, but at 
last he said : 

'How am I to distinguish this awful thing when I 
see it?' 

'Search,' said the jogi, 'for a lovely girl with a lance 
wound in her leg, and when she is found secure her safely 
and come and tell me, and I will advise you what 
to do next.' 

Away hurried the king, and soon set all his soldiers 
scouring the country for a girl with a lance wound in 
her leg. For two days the search went on, and then it 
was somehow discovered that the only person with a 
lance wound in the leg was the princess herself. The 
king, greatly agitated, went off to tell the jogi, and to 
assure him that there must be some mistake. But of 
course the jogi was prepared for this, and had his answer 

'She is not really your daughter, who was stolen 
away at her birth, but an evil spirit that has taken her 
form,' said he solemnly. 'You can do what you like, 


but if you don't take my advice she will kill you all.' 
And so solemn he appeared, and so unshaken in his con- 
fidence, that the king's wisdom was blinded, and he 
declared that he would do whatever the jogi advised, 
and believe whatever he said. So the jogi directed him 
to send him secretly two carpenters; and when they 
arrived he set them to make a great chest, so cunningly 
jointed and put together that neither air nor water 
could penetrate it. There and then the chest was made, 
and, when it was ready, the jogi bade the king to 
bring the princess by night; and they two thrust 
the poor little maiden into the chest and fastened it 
down with long nails, and between them carried it to 
the river and pushed it out into the stream. 

As soon as the jogi got back from this deed he called 
two of his pupils, and pretended that it had been revealed 
to him that there should be found floating on the river 
a chest with something of great price within it; and he 
bade them go and watch for it at such a place far down 
the stream, and when the chest came slowly along, bob- 
bing and turning in the tide, they were to seize it and 
secretly and swiftly bring it to him, for he was now 
determined to put the princess to death himself. The 
pupils set off at once, wondering at the strangeness of 
their errand, and still more at the holiness of the jogi 
to whom such secrets were revealed. 

It happened that, as the next morning was dawning, 
the gallant young prince of Dilaram was hunting by the 
banks of the river, with a great following of wazirs, 
attendants, and huntsmen, and as he rode he saw floating 
on the river a large chest, which came slowly along, 
bobbing and turning in the tide. Raising himself in his 
saddle, he gave an order, and half a dozen men plunged 
into the water and drew the chest out on to the river 
bank, where every one crowded around to see what it 
could contain. The prince was certainly not the least 
curious among them; but he was a cautious young 

a Pfipeess ralaasad Fporo sna 


man, and, as he prepared to open the chest himself, he 
bade all but a few stand back, and these few to draw 
their swords, so as to be prepared in case the chest should 
hold some evil beast, or djinn, or giant. When all were 
ready and expectant, the prince with his dagger forced 
open the lid and flung it back, and there lay, living and 
breathing, the most lovely maiden he had ever seen in 
his life. 

Although she was half stifled from her confinement in 
the chest, the princess speedily revived, and, when 
she was able to sit up, the prince began to question her 
as to who she was and how she came to be shut up in 
the chest and set afloat upon the water; and she, blushing 
and trembling to find herself in the presence of so many 
strangers, told him that she was the princess of 
Rahmatabad, and that she had been put into the chest 
by her own father. When he on his part told her 
that he was the prince of Dilaram, the astonishment of 
the young people was unbounded to find that they, 
who had been betrothed without ever having seen one 
another, should have actually met for the first time 
under such strange circumstances. In fact, the prince 
was so moved by her beauty and modest ways that he 
called up his wazirs and demanded to be married at 
once to this lovely lady who had so completely won his 
heart. And married they were then and there upon the 
river bank, and went home to the prince's palace, where, 
when the story was told, they were welcomed by 
the old rajah, the prince's father, and the remainder 
of the day was given over to feasting and rejoicing. 
But when the banquet was over, the bride told her 
husband that now, on the threshold of their married 
life, she had more to relate of her adventures than he 
had given her the opportunity to tell as yet; and then, 
without hiding anything, she informed him of all that 
happened to her from the time she had stolen out to 
visit the wicked jogi. 



In the morning the prince called his chief wazir and 
ordered him to shut up in the chest in which the princess 
had been found a great monkey that lived chained up 
in the palace, and to take the chest back to the river 
and set it afloat once more and watch what became of 

it. So the monkey was caught and put into the chest, 
and some of the prince's servants took it down to the 
river and pushed it off into the water. Then they 
followed secretly a long way off to see what became of it. 
Meanwhile the jogi's two pupils watched and watched 
for the chest until they were nearly tired of watching, 


and were beginning to wonder whether the jogi was 
right after all, when on the second day they spied the 
great chest coming floating on the river, slowly bobbing 
and turning on the tide; and instantly a great joy and 
exultation seized them, for they thought that here 
indeed was further proof of the wonderful wisdom of 
their master. With some difficulty they secured the 
chest, and carried it back as swiftly and secretly as 
possible to the jogi's house. As soon as they brought in 
the chest, the jogi, who had been getting very cross and 
impatient, told them to put it down, and to go outside 
whilst he opened the magic chest. 

'And even if you hear cries and sounds, however 
alarming, you must on no account enter,' said the jogi, 
walking over to a closet where lay the silken cord that 
was to strangle the princess. 

And the two pupils did as they were told, and went 
outside and shut close all the doors. Presently they 
heard a great outcry within, and the jogi's voice crying 
aloud for help; but they dared not enter, for had they 
not been told that whatever the noise, they must not 
come in? So they sat outside, waiting and wondering; 
and at last all grew still and quiet, and remained so for 
such a long time that they determined to enter and see 
if all was well. No sooner had they opened the door 
leading into the courtyard than they were nearly upset 
by a huge monkey that came leaping straight to the 
doorway and escaped past them into the open fields. 
Then they stepped into the room, and there they saw 
the jogi's body lying torn to pieces on the threshold 
of his dwelling! 

Very soon the story spread, as stories will, and reached 
the ears of the princess and her husband, and when she 
knew that her enemy was dead she made her peace with 
her father. 

From Major Campbell, Feroshepore. 


A LONG time ago a little town made up of a collection 
of low huts stood in a tiny green valley at the foot of 
a cliff. Of course the people had taken great care to 
build their houses out of reach of the highest tide which 
might be driven on shore by a west wind, but on the 
very edge of the town there had sprung up a tree so 
large that half its boughs hung over the huts and the 
other half over the deep sea right under the cliff, where 
sharks loved to come and splash in the clear water. 
The branches of the tree itself were laden with fruit, and 
every day at sunrise a big grey monkey might have been 
seen sitting in the topmost branches having his break- 
fast, and chattering to himself with delight. 

After he had eaten all the fruit on the town side of 
the tree the monkey swung himself along the branches 
to the part which hung over the water. While he was 
looking out for a nice shady place where he might perch 
comfortably he noticed a shark watching him from 
below with greedy eyes. 

'Can I do anything for you, my friend?' asked the 
monkey politely. 

'Oh! if you only would throw me down some of 
those delicious things, I should be so grateful/ answered 
the shark. 'After you have lived on fish for fifty years 
you begin to feel you would like a change. And I am 
so very, very tired of the taste of salt.' 



'Well, I don't like salt myself,' said the monkey; 
' so if you will open your mouth I will throw this beautiful 
juicy kuyu into it,' and, as he spoke, he pulled one off 
the branch just over his head. But it was not so easy 
to hit the shark's mouth as he supposed, even when the 
creature had turned on his back, and the first kuyu 
only struck one of his teeth and rolled into the water. 

he fV^key feeds 

However, the second time the monkey had better luck, 
and the fruit fell right in. 

'Ah, how good!' cried the shark. 'Send me 
another, please,' and the monkey grew tired of picking 
the kuyu long before the shark was tired of eating 

'It is getting late, and I must be going home to my 


children,' he said at length, 'but if you are here at the 
same time to-morrow I will give you another treat.' 

'Thank you, thank you,' said the shark, showing 
all his great ugly teeth as he grinned with delight; 'you 
can't guess how happy you have made me,' and 
he swam away into the shadow, hoping to sleep away 
the time till the money came again. 

For weeks the monkey and the shark breakfasted 
together, and it was a wonder that the tree had any 
fruit left for them. They became fast friends, and told 
each other about their homes and their children, and 
how to teach them all they ought to know. By and bye 
the monkey became rather discontented with his green 
house in a grove of palms beyond the town, and 
longed to see the strange things under the sea which 
he had heard of from the shark. The shark perceived 
this very clearly, and described greater marvels, and 
the monkey as he listened grew more and more gloomy. 

Matters were in this state when one day the shark 
said: 'I really hardly know how to thank you for all 
your kindness to me during these weeks. Here I have 
nothing of my own to offer you, but if you would only 
consent to come home with me, how gladly would 
I give you anything that might happen to take your 

'I should like nothing better,' cried the monkey, 
his teeth chattering, as they always did when he was 
pleased. 'But how could I get there? Not by water. 
Ugh! It makes me ill to think of it!' 

'Oh! don't let that trouble you,' replied the shark, 
'you have only to sit on my back and I will undertake 
that not a drop of water shall touch you.' 

So it was arranged, and directly after breakfast next 
morning the shark swam close up under the tree 
and the monkey dropped neatly on his back, without 


even a splash. After a few minutes for at first he felt 
a little frightened at his strange position -- the monkey 
began to enjoy himself vastly, and asked the shark a 
thousand questions about the fish and the sea-weeds 
and the oddly-shaped things that floated past them, and 
as the shark always gave him some sort of answer, the 
monkey never guessed that many of the objects they 
saw were as new to his guide as to himself. 

The sun had risen and set six times when the shark 
suddenly said, 'My friend, we have now performed 
half our journey, and it is time that I should tell you 

'What is it?' asked the monkey. 'Nothing unpleas- 
ant, I hope, for you sound rather grave?' 

'Oh, no! Nothing at all. It is only that shortly 
before we left I heard that the sultan of my country is 
very ill, and that the only thing to cure him is a monkey's 

'Poor man, I am very sorry for him,' replied the 
monkey; 'but you were unwise not to tell me till we had 

'What do you mean?' asked the shark; but the 
monkey, who now understood the whole plot, did not 
answer at once, for he was considering what he should 

'Why are you so silent?' inquired the shark again. 

'I was thinking what a pity it was you did not tell 
me while I was still on land, and then I would have 
brought my heart with me.' 

'Your heart! Why isn't your heart here?' said 
the shark, with a puzzled expression. 

'Oh, no! Of course not. Is it possible you don't 
know that when we leave home we always hang up our 
hearts on trees, to prevent their being troublesome? 
However, perhaps you won't believe that, and will just 
think I have invented it because I am afraid, so let us 



go on to your country as fast as we can, and when we 
arrive you can look for my heart, and if you find it you 
can kill me.' 

The monkey spoke in such a calm, indifferent way 
that the shark was quite deceived, and began to wish 
he had not been in such a hurry. 

'But there is no use going on if your heart is not with 
you,' he said at last. 'We had better turn back 
to the town, and then you can fetch it.' 

Of course, this was just what the monkey wanted, 
but he was careful not to seem too pleased. 

'Well, I don't know,' he remarked carelessly, 'it is 
such a long way; but you may be right.' 

'I am sure I am,' answered the shark, 'and I will 


swim as quickly as I can,' and so he did, and in three 
days they caught sight of the kuyu tree hanging over 
the water. 

With a sigh of relief the monkey caught hold of the 
nearest branch and swung himself up. 

'Wait for me here,' he called out to the shark. 'I 
am so hungry I must have a little breakfast, and then 
I will go and look for my heart,' and he went further and 
further into the branches so that the shark could not see 
him. Then he curled himself up and went to sleep. 

'Are you there?' cried the shark, who was soon tired 
of swimming about under the cliff, and was in haste 
to be gone. 

The monkey awoke with a start, but did not answer. 

'Are you there? called the shark again, louder than 
before, and in a very cross voice. 

'Oh, yes. I am here,' replied the monkey; 'but 
I wish you had not wakened me up. I was having such 
a nice nap.' 

'Have you got it?' asked the shark. 'It is time 
we were going. ' 

'Going where? inquired the monkey. 

'Why, to my country, of course, with your heart. 
You cant have forgotten!' 

'My dear friend,' answered the monkey, with a 
chuckle, 'I think you must be going a little mad. Do 
you take me for a washerman's donkey?' 

'Don't talk nonsense,' exclaimed the shark, who 
did not like being laughed at. 'What do you mean 
about a washerman's donkey? And I wish you would 
be quick, or we may be too late to save the sultan.' 

'Did you really never hear of the washerman's 
donkey?' asked the monkey, who was enjoying himself 
immensely. 'Why, he is the beast who has no heart. 
And as I am not feeling very well, and am afraid to start 
while the sun is so high lest I should get a sunstroke, 


if you like, I will come a little nearer and tell you his 

'Very well,' said the shark sulkily, 'if you won't 
come, I suppose I may as well listen to that as do 

So the monkey began. 

'A washerman once lived in the great forest on the 
other side of the town, and he had a donkey to keep him 
company and to carry him wherever he wanted to go. 
For a time they got on very well, but by and bye the 
donkey grew lazy and ungrateful for her master's kind- 
ness, and ran away several miles into the heart of 
the forest, where she did nothing but eat and eat and 
eat, till she grew so fat she could hardly move. 

'One day as she was tasting quite a new kind of grass 
and wondering if it was as good as what she had 
had for dinner the day before, a hare happened to pass by. 

"'Well, that is a fat creature," thought she, and 
turned out of her path to tell the news to a lion who 
was a friend of hers. Now the lion had been very ill, 
and was not strong enough to go hunting for himself, 
and when the hare came and told him that a very fat 
donkey was to be found only a few hundred yards off, 
tears of disappointment and weakness filled his eyes. 

'"What is the good of telling me that?" he asked, 
in a weepy voice; "you know I cannot even walk as 
far as that palm." 

'"Never mind," answered the hare briskly. "If 
you can't go to your dinner your dinner shall come to 
you," and nodding a farewell to the lion she went back 
to the donkey. 

'"Good morning," said she, bowing politely to the 
donkey, who lifted her head in surprise. "Excuse my 
interrupting you, but I have come on very important 

'"Indeed," answered the donkey, "it is most kind 



of you to take the trouble. May I inquire what the 
business is?" 

'"Certainly," replied the hare. "It is my friend the 
lion who has heard so much of your charms and good 
qualities that he has sent me to beg that you will give 

him your paw in marriage. He regrets deeply that he 
is unable to make the request in person, but he has been 
ill and is too weak to move." 

'"Poor fellow! How sad!" said the donkey. "But 
you must tell him that I feel honoured by his pro- 
posal, and will gladly consent to be Queen of the Beasts." 


"Will you not come and tell him so yourself?" asked 
the hare. 

'Side by side they went down the road which led to 
the lion's house. It took a long while, for the donkey 
was so fat with eating she could only walk very slowly, 
and the hare, who could have run the distance in about 
five minutes, was obliged to creep along till she almost 
dropped with fatigue at not being able to go at her own 
pace. When at last they arrived the lion was sitting 
up at the entrance, looking very pale and thin. The 
donkey suddenly grew shy and hung her head, but the 
lion put on his best manners and invited both his visitors 
to come in and make themselves comfortable. 

'Very soon the hare got up and said, "Well, as I 
have another engagement I will leave you to make 
acquaintance with your future husband," and winking 
at the lion she bounded away. 

'The donkey expected that as soon as they were left 
alone the lion would begin to speak of their marriage, 
and where they should live, but as he said nothing she 
looked up. To her surprise and terror she saw him 
crouching in the corner, his eyes glaring with a red light, 
and with a loud roar he sprang towards her. But in 
that moment the donkey had had time to prepare herself, 
and jumping on one side dealt the lion such a hard kick 
that he shrieked with the pain. Again and again he 
struck at her with his claws, but the donkey could bite 
too, as well as the lion, who was very weak after his 
illness, and at last a well-planted kick knocked him right 
over, and he rolled on the floor, groaning with pain. The 
donkey did not wait for him to get up, but ran away 
as fast as she could and was lost in the forest. 

'Now the hare, who knew quite well what would 
happen, had not gone to do her business, but hid herself 
in some bushes behind the cave, where she could hear 
quite clearly the sounds of the battle. When all was 

THE HEART Ol< A J/aYA/-.T .51 

quiet again she crept gently out, and stole round the 

"Well, lion, have you killed her?" asked she, run- 
ning swiftly up the path. 

'"Killed her, indeed!" answered the lion sulkily, 
"it is she who has nearly killed me. I never knew a 
donkey could kick like that, though I took care she 
should carry away the marks of my claws." 

'"Dear me! Fancy such a great fat creature being 
able to fight," cried the hare. "But don't vex yourself. 
Just lie still, and your wounds will soon heal," and she 
bade her friend good bye, and returned to her family. 

'Two or three weeks passed, and only bare places on 
the donkey's back showed where the lion's claws had 
been, while, on his side, the lion had recovered from his 
illness and was now as strong as ever. He was beginning 
to think that it was almost time for him to begin hunting 
again, when one morning a rustle was heard in the creepers 
outside, and the hare's head peeped through. 

'"Ah! there is no need to ask how you are," she said. 
"Still you mustn't overtire yourself, you know. Shall 
7 go and bring you your dinner?" 

"If you will bring me that donkey I will tear it in 
two," cried the lion savagely, and the hare laughed and 
nodded and went on her errand. 

'This time the donkey was much further than before, 
and it took longer to find her. At last the hare caught 
sight of four hoofs in the air, and ran towards them. 
The donkey was lying on a soft cool bed of moss near a 
stream, rolling herself backwards and forwards from 

"Good morning," said the hare politely, and the 
donkey got slowly on to her legs, and looked to see who 
her visitor could be. 

'"Oh, it is you, is it?" she exclaimed. "Come in 
and have a chat. What news have you got?" 


'"I mustn't stay," answered the hare; "but I prom- 
ised the lion to beg you to pay him a visit, as he is not 
well enough to call on you." 

'"Well, I don't know," replied the donkey gloomily, 
"the last time we went he scratched me very badly, and 
really I was quite afraid." 

'"He was only trying to kiss you," said the hare, 
"and you bit him, and of course that made him cross." 

' "If I were sure of that" hesitated the donkey. 

'"Oh, you may be quite sure," laughed the hare. 
"I have a large acquaintance among lions. But let us 
be quick," and rather unwillingly the donkey set out. 

'The lion saw them coming and hid himself behind a 
large tree. As the donkey went past, followed by the 
hare, he sprang out, and with one blow of his paw stretched 
the poor foolish creature dead before him. 

'"Take this meat and skin it and roast it," he said 
to the hare; "but my appetite is not so good as it was, 
and the only part I want for myself is the heart. The 
rest you can either eat for yourself or give away to your 

'"Thank you," replied the hare, balancing the 
donkey on her back as well as she was able, and though 
the legs trailed along the ground she managed to drag 
it to an open space some distance off, where she made a 
fire and roasted it. As soon as it was cooked the hare 
took out the heart and had just finished eating it when 
the lion, who was tired of waiting, came up. 

'"I am hungry," said he. "Bring me the creature's 
heart; it is just what I want for supper." 

'"But there is no heart," answered the hare, looking 
up at the lion with a puzzled face. 

'"What nonsense!" said the lion. "As if every 
beast had not got a heart. What do you mean?" 

'This is a washerman's donkey," replied the hare 

'"Well, and suppose it is?" 


'"Oh, fie!" exclaimed the hare. "You a lion and 
a grown-up person, and ask questions like that. If the 
donkey had had a heart would she be here now? The 
first time she came she knew you were trying to kill her, 
and ran away. Yet she came back a second time. Well, 
if she had had a heart would she have come back 
a second time? Now would she?" 

'And the lion answered slowly, "No, she would 

'So you think I am a washerman's donkey?' said 
the monkey to the shark, when the story was ended. 
'You are wrong; I am not. And as the sun is getting 
low in the sky, it is time for you to begin your homeward 
journey. You will have a nice cool voyage, and I hope 
you will find the sultan better. Farewell!' And the 
monkey disappeared among the green branches, and was 

From ' Swahili Tales,' by Edward Steere, LL.D. 


THERE was once a little farmer and his wife living near 
Coolgarrow. They had three children, and my story 
happened while the youngest was a baby. The wife 
was a good wife enough, but her mind was all on her 
family and her farm, and she hardly ever went to 
her knees without falling asleep, and she thought the 
time spent in the chapel was twice as long as it need be. 
So, friends, she let her man and her two children go 
before her one day to Mass, while she called to consult 
a fairy man about a disorder one of her cows had. She 
was late at the chapel, and was sorry all the day after, 
for her husband was in grief about it, and she was very 
fond of him. 

Late that night he was wakened up by the cries of 
his children calling out, 'Mother! mother!' When he 
sat up and rubbed his eyes, there was no wife by his 
side, and when he asked the little ones what was become 
of their mother, they said they saw the room full of nice 
little men and women, dressed in white and red and 
green, and their mother in the middle of them, going out 
by the door as if she was walking in her sleep. Out 
he ran, and searched everywhere round the house, but 
neither tale nor tidings did he get of her for many a 

Well, the poor man was miserable enough, for he 
was as fond of his woman as she was of him. It used 
to bring the salt tears down his cheeks to see his poor 


children neglected and dirty, as they often were, and 
they'd be bad enough only for a kind neighbour that 

"fairies ^o off v>\Vh, Vhe.TaVvne-P'.s 

used to look in whenever she could spare time. The 
infant was away with a nurse. 


About six weeks after - - just as he was going out to 
his work one morning a neighbour, that used to mind 
women when they were ill, came up to him, and kept 
step by step with him to the field, and this is what she 
told him. 

'Just as I was falling asleep last night, I heard a 
horse's tramp on the grass and a knock at the door, 
and there, when I came out, was a fine-looking dark 
man, mounted on a black horse, and he told me to get 
ready in all haste, for a lady was in great want of me. 
As soon as I put on my cloak and things, he took me 
by the hand, and I was sitting behind him before I felt 
myself stirring. "Where are we going, sir?" says I. 
"You'll soon know," says he; and he drew his fingers 
across my eyes, and not a ray could I see. I kept a 
tight grip of him, and I little knew whether he was going 
backwards or forwards, or how long we were about 
it, till my hand was taken again, and I felt the 
ground under me. The fingers went the other way 
across my eyes, and there we were before a castle 
door, and in we went through a big hall and great rooms 
all painted in fine green colours, with red and gold 
bands and ornaments, and the finest carpets and chairs 
and tables and window curtains, and grand ladies and 
gentlemen walking about. At last we came to a bed- 
room, with a beautiful lady in bed, with a fine bouncing 
boy beside her. The lady clapped her hands, and in 
came the Dark Man and kissed her and the baby, and 
praised me, and gave me a bottle of green ointment 
to rub the child all over. 

'Well, the child I rubbed, sure enough; but my right 
eye began to smart, and I put up my finger and 
gave it a rub, and then stared, for never in all my life 
was I so frightened. The beautiful room was a big, 
rough cave, with water oozing over the edges of the 
stones and through the clay; and the lady, and the 
lord, and the child weazened, poverty-bitten creatures - 


nothing but skin and bone and the rich dresses were 
old rags. I didn't let on that I found any difference, 
and after a bit says the Dark Man, "Go before me, to 
the hall door, and I will be with you in a few moments, 
and see you safe home." Well, just as I turned into 
the outside cave, who should I see watching near the 
door but poor Molly. She looked round all terrified, 
and says she to me in a whisper, "I'm brought here to 
nurse the child of the king and queen of the fairies; but 
there is one chance of saving me. All the court will 
pass the cross near Templeshambo next Friday night, 
on a visit to the fairies of Old Ross. If John can catch 
me by the hand or cloak when I ride by, and has 
courage not to let go his grip, I'll be safe. Here's the 
king. Don't open your mouth to answer. I saw what 
happened with the ointment." 

'The Dark Man didn't once cast his eye towards 
Molly, and he seemed to have no suspicion of me. When 
we came out I looked about me, and where do you think 
we were but in the dyke of the Rath of Cromogue. I 
was on the horse again, which was nothing but 
a big rag-weed, and I was in dread every minute I'd 
fall off; but nothing happened till I found myself in 
my own cabin. The king slipped five guineas into 
my hand as soon as I was on the ground, and thanked 
me, and bade me good-night. I hope I'll never see 
his face again. I got into bed, and couldn't sleep for 
a long time; and when I examined my five guineas 
this morning, that I left in the table drawer the last 
thing, I found five withered leaves of oak - - bad luck 
to the giver!' 

Well, you may all think the fright,- and the joy, and 
the grief the poor man was in when the woman finished 
her story. They talked and they talked, but we needn't 
mind what they said till Friday night came, when 
both were standing where the mountain road crosses 
the one going to Ross. 


There they stood, looking towards the bridge of Thuar, 
in the dead of the night, with a little moonlight shining 
from over Kilachdiarmid. At last she gave a start, 
and 'By this and by that,' says she, 'here they come, 
bridles jingling and feathers tossing!' He looked, but 
could see nothing; and she stood trembling and her 
eyes wide open, looking down the way to the ford of 
Ballinacoola. 'I see your wife,' says she, 'riding 
on the outside just so as to rub against us. We'll walk 
on quietly, as if we suspected nothing, and when we 
are passing I'll give you a shove. If you don't do your 
duty then, woe be with you!' 

Well, they walked on easy, and the poor hearts 
beating in both their breasts; and though he could see 
nothing, he heard a faint jingle and trampling and 
rustling, and at last he got the push that she promised. 
He spread out his arms, and there was his wife's waist 
within them, and he could see her plain; but such a 
hullabulloo rose as if there was an earthquake, and he 
found himself surrounded by horrible-looking things, 
roaring at him and striving to pull his wife away. But 
he made the sign of the cross and bid them begone in 
God's name, and held his wife as if it was iron his arms 
were made of. Bedad, in one moment everything was 
as silent as the grave, and the poor woman lying in a 
faint in the arms of her husband and her good neigh- 
bour. Well, all in good time she was minding her 
family and her business again; and I'll go bail, after 
the fright she got, she spent more time on her knees, and 
avoided fairy men all the days of the week, and par- 
ticularly on Sunday. 

It is hard to have anything to do with the good 
people without getting a mark from them. My brave 
nurse didn't escape no more than another. She was 
one Thursday at the market of Enniscorthy, when 
what did she see walking among the tubs of butter 
but the Dark Man, very hungry-looking, and taking a 




scoop out of one tub and out of another. 'Oh, sir,' 
says she, very foolish, 'I hope your lady is well, and 
the baby.' 'Pretty well, thank you,' says he, rather 
frightened like. 'How do I look in this new suit?' says 
he, getting to one side of her. 'I can't see you plain 
at all, sir,' says she. 'Well, now?' says he, getting 
round her back to the other side. 'Musha, indeed, 
sir, your coat looks no better than a withered dock-leaf.' 
'Maybe, then,' says he, 'it will be different now,' and 
he struck the eye next him with a switch. 

Friends, she never saw a glimmer after with that 
one till the day of her death. 

'Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts, ' by Patrick Kennedy. 


IN the middle of a great forest there lived a long time 
ago a charcoal-burner and his wife. They were both 
young and handsome and strong, and when they got 
married, they thought work would never fail them. 
But bad times came, and they grew poorer and poorer, 
and the nights in which they went hungry to bed became 
more and more frequent. 

Now one evening the king of that country was 
hunting near the charcoal-burner's hut. As he passed 
the door, he heard a sound of sobbing, and being a good- 
natured man he stopped to listen, thinking that perhaps 
he might be able to give some help. 

'Were there ever two people so unhappy!' said a 
woman's voice. 'Here we are, ready to work like slaves 
the whole day long, and no work can we get. And 
it is all because of the curiosity of old mother Eve! If 
she had only been like me, who never want to know 
anything, we should all have been as happy as kings 
to-day, with plenty to eat, and warm clothes to wear. 
Why - ' but at this point a loud knock interrupted 
her lamentations. 

'Who is there?' asked she. 

' I ! ' replied somebody. 

'And who is "I"?' 

'The king. Let me in.' 

Full of surprise the woman jumped up and pulled 
the bar away from the door. As the king entered, he 
noticed that there was no furniture in the room at all, 


not even a chair, so he pretended to be in too great a 
hurry to see anything around him, and only said, .'You 
must not let me disturb you, I have no time to stay, but 
you seemed to be in trouble. Tell me; are you very 

'Oh, my lord, we can find no work and have eaten 
nothing for two days!' answered she. 'Nothing remains 
for us but to die of hunger.' 

'No, no, you shan't do that,' cried the king, 'or if 
you do, it will be your own fault. You shall come with 
me into my palace, and you will feel as if you were in 
Paradise, I promise you. In return, I only ask one thing 
of you, that you shall obey my orders exactly.' 

The charcoal-burner and his wife both stared at him 
for a moment, as if they could hardly believe their ears; 
and, indeed, it was not to be wondered at! Then they 
found their tongues, and exclaimed together: 

'Oh, yes, yes, my lord! we will do everything you 
tell us. How could we be so ungrateful as to disobey 
you, when you are so kind?' 

The king smiled, and his eyes twinkled. 

'Well, let us start at once,' said he. 'Lock your 
door, and put the key in your pocket.' 

The woman looked as if she thought this was needless, 
seeing it was quite, quite certain they would never come 
back. But she dared not say so, and did as the king 
told her. 

After walking through the forest for a couple of miles, 
they all three reached the palace, and by the king's 
orders servants led the charcoal-burner and his wife 
into rooms filled with beautiful things such as they had 
never even dreamed of. First they bathed in green 
marble baths where the water looked like the sea, and 
then they put on silken clothes that felt soft and pleasant. 
When they were ready, one of the king's special servants 
entered, and took them into a small hall, where dinner 


was laid, and this pleased them better than anything 

They were just about to sit down to the table when 
the king walked in. 

'I hope you have been attended to properly,' said 
he, 'and that you will enjoy your dinner. My steward 
will take care you have all you want, and I wish you to 
do exactly as you please. Oh, by the bye, there is one 
thing! You notice that soup-tureen in the middle of 
the table? Well, be careful on no account to lift the 
lid. If once you take off the cover, there is an end of 
your good fortune.' Then bowing to his guests, he left 
the room. 

'Did you hear what he said?' inquired the charcoal- 
burner in an awe-stricken voice. 'We are to have what 
we want, and do w T hat we please. Only we must not 
touch the soup-tureen.' 

'No, of course we won't,' answered the wife. 'Why 
should we wish to? But all the same it is rather odd, 
and one can't help wondering what is inside.' 

For many days life went on like a beautiful dream 
to the charcoal-burner and his wife. Their beds were 
so comfortable, they could hardly make up their minds 
to get up, their clothes were so lovely they could scarcely 
bring themselves to take them off; their dinners were 
so good that they found it very difficult to leave off 
eating. Then outside the palace were gardens filled 
with rare flowers and fruits and singing birds, or if they 
desired to go further, a golden coach, painted with 
wreaths of forget-me-nots and lined with blue satin, 
awaited their orders. Sometimes it happened that the 
king came to see them, and he smiled as he glanced at 
the man, who was getting rosier and plumper each day. 
But when his eyes rested on the woman, they took on a 
look which seemed to say 'I knew it,' though this neither 
the charcoal-burner nor his wife ever noticed. 


'Why are you so silent?' asked the man one morning 
when dinner had passed before his wife had uttered one 
word. 'A little while ago you used to be chattering all 
the day long, and now I have almost forgotten the 
sound of your voice.' 

'Oh, nothing; I did not feel inclined to talk, that was 
all!' She stopped, and added carelessly after a pause, 
'Don't you ever wonder what is in that soup-tureen?' 

'No, never,' replied the man. ,'It is no affair of 
ours,' and the conversation dropped once more, but as 
time went on, the woman spoke less and less, and seemed 
so wretched that her husband grew quite frightened 
about her. As to her food, she refused one thing after 

'My dear wife,' said the man at last, 'you really must 
eat something. What in the world is the matter with 
you? If you go on like this you will die.' 

'I would rather die than not know what is in that 
tureen/ she burst forth so violently that the husband was 
quite startled. 

'Is that it?' cried he; 'are you making yourself mis- 
erable because of that? Why, you know we should be 
turned out of the palace, and sent away to starve.' 

'Oh no, we shouldn't. The king is too good-natured. 
Of course he didn't mean a little thing like this! Besides, 
there is no need to lift the lid off altogether. Just raise 
one corner so that I may peep. We are quite alone: 
nobody will ever know.' 

The man hesitated: it did seem a 'little thing,' and 
if it was to make his wife contented and happy it was 
well worth the risk. So he took hold of the handle 
of the cover and raised it very slowly and carefully, 
while the woman stooped down to peep. Suddenly she 
started back with a scream, for a small mouse had 
sprung from the inside of the tureen, and had nearly hit 
her in the eye. Round and round the room it ran, 
round and round they both ran after it, knocking down 


chairs and vases in their efforts to catch the mouse and 
put it back in the tureen. In the middle of all the noise 
the door opened, and the mouse ran out between the 
feet of the king. In one instant both the man and his 
wife were hiding under the table, and to all appearance 
the room was empty. 

'You may as well come out,' said the king, 'and hear 
what I have to say.' 

'I know what it is,' answered the charcoal-burner, 
hanging his head. 'The mouse has escaped.' 

'A guard of soldiers will take you back to your hut,' 
said the king. 'Your wife has the key.' 

'Weren't they silly?' cried the grandchildren of the 
charcoal-burners when they heard the story. 'How we 
wish that we had had the chance! We should never 
have wanted to know what was in the soup-tureen ! ' 
From ' Litterature Orale de 1'Auvergne, ' par P. Sebillot. 


A LITTLE back from the high road there stands a house 
which is called 'Hemgard.' Perhaps you remember the 
two beautiful mountain ash trees by the reddish-brown 
palings, and the high gate, and the garden with the 
beautiful barberry bushes which are always the first to 
become green in spring, and which in summer are weighed 
down with their beautiful berries. 

Behind the garden there is a hedge with tall aspens 
which rustle in the morning wind, behind the hedge is a 
road, behind the road is a wood, and behind the wood 
the wide world. 

But on the other side of the garden there is a lake, 
and beyond the lake is a village, and all around stretch 
meadows and fields, now yellow, now green. 

In the pretty house, which has white window-frames, 
a neat porch and clean steps, which are always strewn 
with finely-cut juniper leaves, Walter's parents live. 
His brother Frederick, his sister Lotta, old Lena, Jonas, 
Caro and Bravo, Putte and Murre, and Kuckeliku. 

Caro lives in the dog house, Bravo in the stable, 
Putte with the stableman, Murre a little here and a little 
there, and Kuckeliku lives in the hen house, that is his 

Walter is six years old, and he must soon begin to go 
to school. He cannot read yet, but he can do many 
other things. He can turn cartwheels, stand on his head, 
ride see-saw, throw snowballs, play ball, crow like a cock, 
eat bread and butter and drink sour milk, tear his 


trousers, wear holes in his elbows, break the crockery in 
pieces, throw balls through the windowpanes, draw old 
men on important papers, walk over the flower-beds, eat 
himself sick with gooseberries, and be well after a whip- 
ping. For the rest he has a good heart but a bad memory, 
and forgets his father's and his mother's admonitions, 
and so often gets into trouble and meets with adven- 
tures, as you shall hear, but first of all I must tell you 
how brave he was and how he hunted wolves. 

Once in the spring, a little before Midsummer, Walter 
heard that there were a great many wolves in the wood, 
and that pleased him. He was wonderfully brave when 
he was in the midst of his companions or at home with 
his brothers and sister, then he used often to say ' One 
wolf is nothing, there ought to be at leastfour.' 

When he wrestled with Klas Bogenstrom or Frithiof 
Waderfelt and struck them in the back, he would say: 
'That is what I shall do to a wolf!' and when he shot 
arrows at Jonas and they rattled against his sheep- 
skin coat he would say 'That is how I should shoot 
you if you were a wolf!' 

Indeed, some thought that the brave boy boasted a 
little; but one must indeed believe him since he said so 
himself. So Jonas and Lena used to say of him 'Look, 
there goes Walter, who shoots the wolves.' And other 
boys and girls would say: 'Look, there goes brave Walter 
who is brave enough to fight with four.' 

There was no one so fully convinced of this as Walter 
himself, and one day he prepared himself for a real wolf 
hunt. He took with him his drum, which had holes in 
one end, since the time he had climbed up on it to 
reach a cluster of rowan berries, and his tin sabre, which 
was a little broken because he had with incredible 
courage fought his way through a whole unfriendly 
army of gooseberry bushes. 

He did not forget to arm himself quite to the teeth 
with his pop-gun, his bow, and his air-pistol. He had a 


burnt cork in his pocket to blacken his moustache, and a 
red cock's feather to put in his cap to make himself look 
fierce. He had besides in his trouser pocket a clasp- 
knife with a bone handle, to cut off the ears of the wolves 
as soon as he had killed them, for he thought it would be 
cruel to do that while they were still living. 

It was such a good thing that Jonas was going with 
corn to the mill, for" Walter got a seat on the load, while 
Caro ran barking beside them. As soon as they came 
to the wood Walter looked cautiously around him to see 
perchance there was a wolf in the bushes, and he did 
not omit to ask Jonas if wolves were afraid of a drum. 
'Of course they are' (that is understood) said Jonas. 
Thereupon Walter began to beat his drum with all his 
might while they were going through the wood. 

When they came to the mill Walter immediately 
asked if there had been any wolves in the neighbourhood 

'Alas! yes,' said the miller, 'last night the wolves 
have eaten our fattest ram there by the kiln not far 
from here.' 

'Ah!' said Walter, 'do you think that there were 

'We don't know,' answered the miller. 

'Oh, it is all the same,' said Walter. 'I only asked 
so that I should know if I should take Jonas with me. 

'I could manage very well alone with three, but if 
there were more, I might not have time to kill them all 
before they ran away.' 

'In Walter's place I should go quite alone, it is more 
manly,' said Jonas. 

'No, it is better for you to come, too,' said Walter. 
'Perhaps there are many.' 

'No, I have not time,' said Jonas, 'and besides there 
are sure not to be more than three. Walter can manage 
them very well alone.' 

'Yes,' said Walter, 'certainly I could; but, you see, 


Jonas, it might happen that one of them might bite me 
in the back, and I should have more trouble in killing 
them. If I only knew that there were not more than 
two I should not mind, for then I should take one in each 
hand and give them a good shaking, like Susanna once 
shook me.' 

'I certainly think that there will not be more than 
two,' said Jonas, 'there are never more than two when 
they slay children and rams; Walter can very well shake 
them without me.' 

'But, you see Jonas,' said Walter, 'if there are two, it 
might still happen that one of them escapes and bites me 
in the leg, for you see I am not so strong in the left hand 
as in the right. You can very well come with me, and 
take a good stick in case there are really two. Look, if 
there is only one, I shall take him so with both my hands 
and throw him living on to his back, and he can kick as 
much as he likes, I shall hold him fast.' 

'Now, when I really think over the thing,' said Jonas, 
' I am almost sure there will not be more than one. What 
would two do with one ram? There will certainly not 
be more than one.' 

'But you should come with me all the same, Jonas,' 
said Walter. 'You see I can very well manage one, but 
I am not quite accustomed to wolves yet, and he might 
tear holes in my new trousers.' 

'Well, just listen,' said Jonas, 'I am beginning to 
think that Walter is not so brave as people say. First 
of all Walter would fight against four, and then against 
three, then two, and then one, and now Walter wants 
help with one. Such a thing must never be; what would 
people say? Perhaps they would think that Walter is 
a coward?' 

'That's a lie,' said Walter, 'I am not at all frightened, 
but it is more amusing when there are two. I only want 
someone who will see how I strike the wolf and how the 
dust flies out of his skin.' 


'Well, then, Walter can take the miller's little Lisa 
with him. She can sit on a stone and look on,' said 

'No, she would certainly be frightened,' said Walter, 
'and how would it do for a girl to go wolf-hunting? 
Come with me, Jonas, and you shall have the skin, and 
I will be content with the ears and the tail.' 

'No, thank you,' said Jonas, 'Walter can keep the 
skin for himself. Now I see quite well that he is 
frightened. Fie, shame on him!' 

This touched Walter's pride very near. 'I shall show 
that I am not frightened,' he said; and so he took his 
drum, sabre, cock's feather, clasp-knife, pop-gun and air- 
pistol, and went off quite alone to the wood to hunt 

It was a beautiful evening, and the birds were singing 
in all the branches. Walter went very slowly and 
cautiously. At every step he looked all round him to see 
if perchance there was anything lurking behind the 
stones. He quite thought something moved away there 
in the ditch. Perhaps it was a wolf. It is better for me 
to beat the drum a little before I go there, thought 

Br-r-r, so he began to beat his drum. Then something 
moved again. Caw! caw! a crow flew up from the 
ditch. Walter immediately regained courage. 'It was 
well I took my drum with me,' he thought, and went 
straight on with courageous steps. Very soon he came 
quite close to the kiln, where the wolves had killed the 
ram. But the nearer he came the more dreadful he 
thought the kiln looked. It was so grey and old. Who 
knew how many wolves there might be hidden there? 
Perhaps the very ones which killed the ram were still 
sitting there in a corner. Yes, it was not at all safe 
here, and there were no other people to be seen in the 
neighbourhood. It would be horrible to be eaten up 
here in the daylight, thought Walter to himself; and 


the more he thought about it the uglier and grayer the 
old kiln looked, and the more horrible and dreadful it 
seemed to become the food of wolves. 

'Shall I go back and say that I struck one wolf and 
it escaped?' thought Walter. 'Fie!' said his con- 
science, 'Do you not remember that a lie is one of the 
worst sins, both in the sight of God and man? If you tell 
a lie to-day and say you struck a wolf, to-morrow surely 
it will eat you up.' 

'No, I will go to the kiln,' thought Walter, and so he 
went. But he did not go quite near. He went only so 
near that he could see the ram's blood which coloured 
the grass red, and some tufts of wool which the wolves 
had torn from the back of the poor animal. 

It looked so dreadful. 

'I wonder what the ram thought when they ate him 
up,' thought Walter to himself; and just then a cold 
shiver ran through him from his collar right down to his 

'It is better for me to beat the drum,' he thought to 
himself again, and so he began to beat it. But it sounded 
horrid, and an echo came out from the kiln that 
seemed almost like the howl of a wolf. The drum- 
sticks stiffened in Walter's hands, and he thought now 
they are coming. . . . ! 

Yes, sure enough, just then a shaggy, reddish-brown 
wolf's head looked out from under the kiln! 

What did Walter do now? Yes, the brave Walter 
who alone could manage four, threw his drum far away, 
took to his heels and ran, and ran as fast as he could back 
to the mill. 

But, alas! the wolf ran after him. Walter looked 
back; the wolf was quicker than he and only a few steps 
behind him. Then Walter ran faster. But fear got 
the better of him, he neither heard nor saw anything 
more. He ran over sticks, stones and ditches; he lost 
drum-sticks, sabre, bow, and air-pistol, and in his terrible 


hurry he tripped over a tuft of grass. There he lay, and 
the wolf jumped on to him. . . . 

It was a gruesome tale! Now you may well believe 
that it was all over with Walter and all his adventures. 
That would have been a pity. But do not be surprised 
if it was not quite so bad as that, for the wolf was quite 
a friendly one. He certainly jumped on to Walter, but 
he only shook his coat and rubbed his nose against his 
face; and Walter shrieked. Yes, he shrieked terribly! 

Happily Jonas heard his cry of distress, for Walter 
was quite near the mill now, and he ran and helped 
him up. 

'What has happened?' he asked. 'Why did Walter 
scream so terribly?' 

'A wolf! A wolf!' cried Walter, and that was all 
he could say. 

'Where is the wolf?' said Jonas, 'I don't see any 

''Take care, he is here, he has bitten me to death,' 
groaned Walter. 

Then Jonas began to laugh; yes, he laughed so that 
he nearly burst his skin belt. 

Well, well, was that the wolf? Was that the wolf 
which Walter was to take by the neck and shake and 
throw down on its back, no matter how much it struggled? 
Just look a little closer at him, he is your old friend, 
your own good old Caro. I quite expect he found 
a leg of the ram in the kiln. When Walter beat his 
drum, Caro crept out, and when Walter ran away, Caro 
ran after him, as he so often does when Walter wants to 
romp and play. 

'Down, Caro, you ought to be rather ashamed to 
have put such a great hero to flight ! ' 

Walter got up feeling very foolish. 

'Down, Carol' he said, both relieved and annoyed. 

'It was only a dog, then if it had been a wolf I cer- 
tainly should have killed him. . . .' 


'If Walter would listen to my advice, and boast a 
little less, and do a little more,' said Jonas, consolingly. 
' Walter is not a coward is he?' 

'I! You shall see Jonas when we next meet a bear. 
You see I like so much better to fight with bears.' 

'Indeed!' laughed Jonas. 'Are you at it again?' 

'Dear Walter, remember that it is only cowards who 
boast; a really brave man never talks of his bravery.' 

From Z. Topelius. 


WHEN the young king of Easaidh Ruadh came into his 
kingdom, the first thing he thought of was how he could 
amuse himself best. The sports that all his life had 
pleased him best suddenly seemed to have grown dull, 
and he wanted to do something he had never done 
before. At last his face brightened. 

'I know!' he said, 'I will go and play a game with 
the Gruagach. Now the Gruagach was a kind of wicked 
fairy, with long curly brown hair, and his house was not 
very far from the king's house. 

But though the king was young and eager, he was 
also prudent, and his father had told him on his death- 
bed to be very careful in his dealings with the 'good 
people,' as the fairies were called. Therefore before 
going to the Gruagach, the king sought out a wise man 
of the country side. 

'I am wanting to play a game with the curly-haired 
Gruagach,' said he. 

'Are you, indeed?' replied the wizard. 'If you will 
take my counsel, you will play with someone else.' 

'No; I will play with the Gruagach,' persisted the 

'Well, if you must, you must, I suppose,' answered 
the wizard; 'but if you win that game, ask as a prize the 
ugly crop-headed girl that stands behind the door.' 

'I will,' said the king. 

So before the sun rose he got up and went to the house 
of the Gruagach, who was sitting outside. 


'O king, what has brought you here to-day?' asked 
the Gruagach. 'But right welcome you are, and more 
welcome will you be still if you will play a game with me.' 

'That is just what I want,' said the king, and they 
played; and sometimes it seemed as if one would win, 
and sometimes the other, but in the end it was the king 
who was the winner. 

'And what is the prize that you will choose?' in- 
quired the Gruagach. 

'The ugly crop-headed girl that stands behind the 
door,' replied the king. 

'Why, there are twenty others in the house, and each 
fairer than she,' exclaimed the Gruagach. 

'Fairer they may be, but it is she whom I wish for 
my wife, and none other,' and the Gruagach saw that 
the king's mind was set upon her, so he entered his 
house, and bade all the maidens in it come out one by 
one, and pass before the king. 

One. by one they came; tall and short, dark and 
fair, plump and thin, and each said, 'I am she whom 
you want. You will be foolish indeed if you do not 
take me.' 

But he took none of them, neither short nor tall, dark 
nor fair, plump nor thin, till at the last the crop-headed 
girl came out. 

'This is mine,' said the king, though she was so ugly 
that most men would have turned from her. 'We will 
be married at once, and I will carry you home.' And 
married they were, and they set forth across a meadow 
to the king's house. As they went, the bride stooped 
and picked a sprig of shamrock, which grew amongst 
the grass, and when she stood upright again her ugliness 
had all gone, and the most beautiful woman that ever 
was seen stood by the king's side. 

The next day, before the sun rose, the king sprang 
from his bed, and told his wife he must have another 
game with the Gruagach. 

"When she stood upright her ugliness had all gone." 


'If my father loses that game, and you win it,' said 
she, 'accept nothing for your prize but the shaggy young 
horse with the stick saddle.' 

'I will do that,' answered the king, and he went. 

'Does your bride please you?' asked the Gruagach, 
who was standing at his own door. 

'Ah! does she not!' answered the king quickly, 
'otherwise I should be hard indeed to please. But 
will you play a game to-day?' 

'I will,' replied the Gruagach, and they played, and 
sometimes it seemed as if one would win, and sometimes 
the other, but in the end the king was the winner. 

'What is the prize that you will choose?' asked the 

'The shaggy young horse with the stick saddle,' 
answered the king, but he noticed that the Gruagach 
held his peace, and his brow was dark as he led out the 
horse from the stable. Rough was its mane and dull 
was its skin, but the king cared nothing for that, 
and throwing his leg over the stick saddle, rode away like 
the wind. 

On the third morning the king got up as usual before 
dawn, and as soon as he had eaten food he prepared 
to go out, when his wife stopped him. 'I would rather,' 
she said, 'that you did not go to play with the Gruagach, 
for though twice you have won yet some day he will win, 
and then he will put trouble upon you.' 

'Oh! I must have one more game,' cried the king; 
'just this one,' and he went off to the house of the 

Joy filled the heart of the Gruagach when he saw 
him coming, and without waiting to talk they played 
their game. Somehow or other, the king's strength and 
skill had departed from him, and soon the Gruagach was 
the victor. 


'Choose your prize,' said the king, when the game 
was ended, 'but do not be too hard on me, or ask what 
I cannot give.' 

'The prize I choose,' answered the Gruagach, 'is 
that the crop-headed creature should take thy head 
and thy neck, if thou dost not get for me the Sword of 
Light that hangs in the house of the king of the oak 

'I will get it,' replied the young man bravely, but 
as soon as he was out of sight of the Gruagach, he pre- 
tended no more, and his face grew dark and his steps 

'You have brought nothing with you to-night,' said 
the queen, who was standing on the steps awaiting him. 
She was so beautiful that the king was fain to smile when 
he looked at her, but then he remembered what had hap- 
pened, and his heart grew heavy again. 

'What is it? What is the matter? Tell me thy 
sorrow that I may bear it with thee, or, it may be, help 
thee!' Then the king told her everything that had 
befallen him, and she stroked his hair the while. 

'That is nothing to grieve about,' she said when the 
tale was finished. ' You have the best wife in Erin, and 
the best horse in Erin. Only do as I bid you, and 
all will go well.' And the king suffered himself to be 

He was still sleeping when the queen rose and dressed 
herself, to make everything ready for her husband's 
journey, and the first place she went to was the stable, 
where she fed and watered the shaggy brown horse and 
put the saddle on it. Most people thought this saddle 
was of wood, and did not see the little sparkles of gold 
and silver that were hidden in it. She strapped it lightly 
on the horse's back, and then led it down before the 
house, where the king waited. 

'Good luck to you and victories in all your battles,' 
she said, as she kissed him before he mounted. 'I need 


not be telling you anything. Take the advice of the 
horse, and see you obey it.' 

So he waved his hand and set out on his journey, and 
the wind was not swifter than the brown horse no, not 
even the March wind which raced it, and could not 
catch it. But the horse never stopped nor looked behind, 


till in the dark of the night he reached the castle of the 
king of the oak windows. 

'We are at the end of the journey,' said the horse, 
'and you will find the Sword of Light in the king's own 
chamber. If it comes to you without scrape or sound, 
the token is a good one. At this hour the king is eating 
his supper, and the room is empty, so none will see you. 
The sword has a knob at the end, and take heed that when 
you grasp it, you draw it softly out of its sheath. Now 
go ! I will be under the window ! ' 

Stealthily the young man crept along the passage, 
pausing now and then to make sure that no man was 
following him, and entered the king's chamber. A 
strange white line of light told him where the sword was, 
and crossing the room on tiptoe, he seized the knob, and 
drew it slowly out of the sheath. The king could hardly 
breathe with excitement lest it should make some noise 
and bring all the people in the castle running to see what 
was the matter. But the sword slid swiftly and silently 
along the case till only the point was left touching it. 
Then a low sound was heard, as of the edge of a knife 
touching a silver plate, and the king was so startled 
that he nearly dropped the knob. 

'Quick! quick! ' cried the horse, and the king scrambled 
hastily through the small window, and leapt into the 

'He has heard and he will follow,' said the horse; 
'but we have a good start. And on they sped, on and on, 
leaving the winds behind them. 

At length the horse slackened its pace. 'Look and 
see who is behind you,' it said, and the young man 

'I see a swarm of brown horses racing madly after us,' 
he answered. 

'We are swifter than those,' said the horse, and flew 
on again. 

'Look again, O king! Is anyone coming now?' 


'A swarm of black horses, and one has a white face, 
and on that horse a man is seated. He is the king of the 
oak windows.' 

'That is my brother, and swifter still than I,' said 
the horse, 'and he will fly past me with a rush. Then 
you must have your sword ready, and take off the head 
of the man who sits on him, as he turns and looks at you. 
And there is no sword in the world that will cut off his 
head, save only that one.' 

'I will do it,' replied the king, and he listened with 
all his might, till he judged that the white-faced horse 
was close to him. Then he sat up very straight and 
made ready. 

The next moment there was a rushing noise as of a 
mighty tempest, and the young man caught a glimpse of 
a face turned toward him. Almost blindly he struck, 
not knowing whether he had killed or only wounded the 
rider. But the head rolled off, and was caught in the 
brown horse's mouth. 

'Jump on my brother, the black horse, and go home 
as fast as you can, and I will follow as quickly as I may,' 
cried the brown horse; and leaping forward the king 
alighted on the back of the black horse, but so near the 
tail that he almost fell off again. But he stretched out 
his arm and clutched wildly at the mane and pulled 
himself into the saddle. 

Before the sky was streaked with red he was at home 
again, and the queen was sitting waiting till he arrived, 
for sleep was far from her eyes. Glad was she to see 
him enter, but she said little, only took her harp and 
sang softly the songs which he loved, till he went to bed, 
soothed and happy. 

It was broad day when he woke, and he sprang up 

'Now I must go to the Gruagach, to find out if the 
spells he laid on me are loose.' 



'Have a care,' answered the queen, 'for it is not with 
a smile as on the other days that he will greet you. Furi- 
ously he will meet you, and will ask you in his wrath 
if you have got the sword, and you will reply that you 
have got it. Next he will want to know how you got 
it, and to this you must say that but for the knob you 
had not got it at all. Then he will raise his head to look 
at the knob, and you must stab him in the mole which 
is on the right side of his neck; but take heed, for 
if you miss the mole with the point of the sword, then 
my death and your death are certain. He is brother 
to the king of the oak windows, and sure will he be 
that the king must be dead, or the sword would not be 
in your hands.' After that she kissed him, and bade 
him good speed. 

'Didst thou get the sword?' asked the Gruagach, 
when they met in the usual place. 

'I got the sword.' 

'And how didst thou get it?' 

'If it had not had a knob on the top, then I had not 
got it,' answered the king. 

'Give me the sword to look at,' said the Gruagach, 
peering forward; but like a flash the king had drawn 
it from under his nose and pierced the mole, so that the 
Gruagach rolled over on the ground. 

'Now I shall be at peace,' thought the king. But he 
was wrong, for when he reached home he found his 
servants tied together back to back, with cloths bound 
round their mouths, so that they could not speak. He 
hastened to set them free, and he asked who had treated 
them in so evil a manner. 

'No sooner had you gone than a great giant came, 
and dealt with us as you see, and carried off your wife 
and your two horses,' said the men. 

'Then my eyes will not close nor will my head lay itself 
down till I fetch my wife and horses home again,' 


answered he, and he stooped and noted the tracks of 
the horses on the grass, and followed after them till he 
arrived at the wood when the darkness fell. 

'I will sleep here,' he said to himself, 'but first I will 
make a fire.' And he gathered together some twigs 
that were lying about, and then took two dry sticks 
and rubbed them together till the fire came, and he sat 
by it. 

The twigs crackled and the flame blazed up, and a 
slim yellow dog pushed through the bushes and laid his 
head on the king's knee, and the king stroked his head. 

'Wuf, wuf,' said the dog. 'Sore was the plight of 
thy wife and thy horses when the giant drove them last 
night through the forest.' 

'That is why I have come;' answered the king, and 
suddenly his heart seemed to fail him and he felt that 
he could not go on.' 

'I cannot fight that giant,' he cried, looking at the 
dog with a white face. 'I am afraid, let me turn home- 

'No, don't do that,' replied the dog. 'Eat and sleep, 
and I will watch over you.' So the king ate and lay down, 
and slept till the sun waked him. 

'It is time for you to start on your way,' said the 
dog, 'and if danger presses, call on me, and I will help 

'Farewell, then,' answered the king; 'I will not forget 
that promise,' and on he went, and on, and on, till he 
reached a tall cliff with many sticks lying about. 

'It is almost night,' he thought; 'I will make a fire 
and rest,' and thus he did, and when the flames blazed 
up, the hoary hawk of the grey rock flew on to a bough 
above him. 

'Sore was the plight of thy wife and thy horses when 
they passed here with the giant,' said the hawk. 

'Never shall I find them,' answered the king, 'and 
nothing shall I get for all my trouble.' 


'Oh, take heart,' replied the hawk, 'things are never 
so bad but what they might be worse. Eat and sleep and 
I will watch thee,' and the king did as he was bidden by 
the hawk, and by the morning he felt brave again. 

'Farewell,' said the bird, 'and if danger presses call 
to me, and I will help you.' 

On he walked, and on, and on, till as the dusk was 
falling he came to a great river, and on the bank there 
were sticks lying about. 

'I wall make myself a fire,' he thought, and thus he 
did, and by and bye a smooth brown head peered at him 
from the water, and a long body followed it. 

'Sore was the plight of thy wife and thy horses when 
they passed the river last night,' said the otter. 

'I have sought them and not found them,' answered 
the king, 'and nought shall I get for my trouble.' 

'Be not so downcast,' replied the otter; 'before noon 
to-morrow thou shalt behold thy wife. But eat and 
sleep and I will watch over thee.' So the king did as the 
otter bid him, and when the sun rose he woke and saw 
the otter lying on the bank. 

'Farewell,' cried the otter as he jumped into the water, 
'and if danger presses, call to me and I will help you.' 

For many hours the king walked, and at length he 
reached a high rock, which was rent in two by a great 
earthquake. Throwing himself on the ground he looked 
over the side, and right at the very bottom he saw his 
wife and his horses. His heart gave a great bound, and 
all his fears left him, but he was forced to be patient, 
for the sides of the rock were smooth, and not even a 
goat could find foothold. So he got up again, and made 
his way round through the wood, pushing by trees, 
scrambling over rocks, wading through streams, till at 
last he was on flat ground again, close to the mouth of 
the cavern. 

His wife gave a shriek of joy when he came in, 


and then burst into tears, for she was tired and very 
frightened. But her husband did not understand why 
she wept, and he was tired and bruised from his climb, 
and a little cross too. 

'You give me but a sorry welcome,' grumbled he, 
'when I have half-killed myself to get to you.' 

'Do not heed him,' said the horses to the weeping 
woman, 'put him in front of us, where he will be safe, and 
give him food for he is weary.' And she did as the horses 
told her, and he ate and rested, till by and bye a long 
shadow fell over them, and their hearts beat with fear; 
for they knew that the giant was coming. 

'I smell a stranger,' cried the giant, as he entered, 
but it was dark inside the chasm, and he did not see the 
king, who was crouching down between the feet of 
the horses. 

'A stranger, my lord! no stranger ever comes here, 
not even the sun!' and the king's wife laughed gaily as 
she went up to the giant and stroked the huge hand 
which hung down by his side. 

'Well, I perceive nothing, certainly,' answered he, 
'but it is very odd. However, it is time that the horses 
were fed'; and he lifted down an armful of hay from a 
shelf of rock and held out a handful to each animal, 
who moved forward to meet him, leaving the king behind. 
As soon as the giant's hands were near their mouths 
they each made a snap, and began to bite them, so that 
his groans and shrieks might have been heard a mile off. 
Then they wheeled round and kicked him till they could 
kick no more. At length the giant crawled away, and 
lay quivering in a corner, and the queen went up to 

'Poor thing! poor thing!' she said, 'they seem to 
have gone mad; it was awful to behold.' 

'If I had had my soul in my body they would cer- 
tainly have killed me,' groaned the giant. 


'It was lucky indeed,' answered the queen; 'but tell 
me, where is thy soul, that I may take care of it?' 

'Up there, in the Bonnach stone,' answered the giant, 
pointing to a stone which was balanced loosely on an 
edge of rock. 'But now leave me, that I may sleep, 
for I have far to go to-morrow.' 

Soon snores were heard from the corner where the giant 
lay, and then the queen lay down too, and the horses, 
and the king was hidden between them, so that none 
could see him. 

Before the dawn the giant rose and went out, and 
immediately the queen ran up to the Bonnach stone, 
and tugged and pushed at it till it was quite steady 
on its ledge, and could not fall over. And so it was in 
the evening when the giant came home; and when they 
saw his shadow, the king crept down in front of the 

'Why, what have you done to the Bonnach stone?' 
asked the giant. 

'I feared lest it should fall over, and be broken, with 
your soul in it,' said the queen, 'so I put it further back 
on the ledge. 

'It is net there that my soul is,' answered he, 'it is on 
the threshold. But it is time the horses were fed'; and 
he fetched the hay, and gave it to them, and they bit 
and kicked him as before, till he lay half dead on the ground. 

Next morning he rose and went out, and the queen 
ran to the threshold of the cave, and washed the stones, 
and pulled up some moss and little flowers that were 
hidden in the crannies, and by and bye when dusk had 
fallen the giant came home. 

'You have been cleaning the threshold,' said he. 

'And was I not right to do it, seeing that your soul 
h in it?' asked the queen. 

'It is not there that my soul is,' answered the giant. 
'Under the threshold is a stone, and under the stone is 
a sheep, and in the sheep's body is a duck, and in the 


duck is an egg, and in the egg is my soul. But it is late, 
and I must feed the horses'; and he brought them the 
hay, but they only bit and kicked him as before, and if 
his soul had been within him, they would have killed him 

It was still dark when the giant got up and went 
his way, and then the king and the queen ran forward 
to take up the threshold, while the horses looked on. 
But sure enough! just as the giant had said, underneath 
the threshold was the flagstone, and they pulled and 
tugged till the stone gave way. Then something jumped 
out so suddenly, that it nearly knocked them down, and 
as it fled past, they saw it was a sheep. 

'If the slim yellow dog of the greenwood were only 
here, he would soon have that sheep,' cried the king; 
and as he spoke, the slim yellow dog appeared from the 
forest, with the sheep in his mouth. With a blow from 
the king, the sheep fell dead, and they opened its body, 
only to be blinded by a rush of wings as the duck flew 

' If the hoary hawk of the rock were only here he 
would soon have that duck,' cried the king; and as he 
spoke the hoary hawk was seen hovering above them, 
with the duck in his mouth. They cut off the duck's 
head with a swing of the king's sword, and took the 
egg out of its body, but in his triumph the king held 
it carelessly, and it slipped from his hand, and rolled 
swiftly down the hill right into the river. 

'If the brown otter of the stream were only here, he 
would soon have that egg,' cried the king; and the next 
minute there was the brown otter, dripping with water, 
holding the egg in his mouth. But beside the brown 
otter, a huge shadow came stealing along --the shadow 
of the giant. 

The king stood staring at it, as if he were turned into 
stone, but the queen snatched the egg from the otter and 


crushed it between her two hands. And after that the 
shadow suddenly shrank and was still, and they knew 
that the giant was dead, because they had found his 

Next day they mounted the two horses and rode 
home again, visiting their friends the brown otter and 
the hoary hawk and the slim yellow dog by the way. 
From 'West Highland Tales.' 


AMONG the mountain pastures and valleys that lie in 
the centre of France there dwelt a mischievous kind of 
spirit, whose delight it was to play tricks on everybody, 
and particularly on the shepherds and the cowboys. 
They never knew when they were safe from him, as he 
could change himself into a man, woman or child, a 
stick, a goat, a ploughshare. Indeed, there was only 
one thing whose shape he could not take, and that was 
a needle. At least, he could transform himself into a 
needle, but try as he might he never was able to imitate 
the hole, so every woman would have found him out at 
once, and this he knew. 

Now the hour oftenest chosen by this naughty sprite 
(whom we will call Puck) for performing his pranks was 
about midnight, just when the shepherds and cowherds, 
tired out with their long day's work, were sound asleep. 
Then he would go into the cowsheds and unfasten the 
chains that fixed each beast in its own stall, and let them 
fall with a heavy clang to the ground. The noise was so 
loud that it was certain to awaken the cowboys, however 
fatigued they might be, and they dragged themselves 
wearily to the stable to put back the chains. But no 
sooner had they returned to their beds than the same 
thing happened again, and so on till the morning. Or 
perhaps Puck would spend his night in plaiting together 
the manes and tails of two of the horses, so that it would 
take the grooms hours of labour to get them right in the 
morning, while Puck, hidden among the hay in the loft, 



would peep out to watch them, enjoying himself amazingly 
all the time. 

One evening more than eighty years ago a man 
named William was passing along the bank of a stream 
when he noticed a sheep who was bleating loudly. 
William thought it must have strayed from the flock, 
and that he had better take it home with him till he 
could discover its owner. So he went up to where it 
was standing, and as it seemed so tired that it could 
hardly walk, he hoisted it on his shoulders and continued 
on his way. The sheep was pretty heavy, but the good 
man was merciful and staggered along as best he could 
under his load. 

'It is not much further,' he thought to himself as he 
reached an avenue of walnut trees, when suddenly a 
voice spoke out from over his head, and made him jump. 

'Where are you?' said the voice, and the sheep 
answered : 

'Here on the shoulders of a donkey.' 

In another moment the sheep was standing on the 
ground and William was running towards home as fast 
as his legs would carry him. But as he went, a laugh, 
which yet was something of a bleat, rang in his ears, and 
though he tried not to hear, the words reached him, 
'Oh, dear! What fun I have had, to be sure!' 

Puck was careful not always to play his tricks in the 
same place, but visited one village after another, so that 
everyone trembled lest he should be the next victim. 
After a bit he grew tired of cowboys and shepherds, and 
wondered if there was no one else to give him some 
sport. At length he was told of a young couple who 
were going to the nearest town to buy all that they 
needed for setting up house. Quite certain that they 
would forget something which they could not do without, 
Puck waited patiently till they were jogging along in 


their cart on their return journey, and changed himself 
into a fly in order to overhear their conversation. 

For a long time it was very dull - - all about their 
wedding day next month, and who were to be invited. 
This led the bride to her wedding dress, and she gave a 
little scream. 

'Just think! Oh! how could I be so stupid! I have 
forgotten to buy the different coloured reels of cotton 
to match my clothes!' 

'Dear, dear!' exclaimed the young man. 'That is 
unlucky; and didn't you tell me that the dressmaker 
was coming in to-morrow?' 

'Yes," I did,' and then suddenly she gave another 
little scream, which had quite a different sound from the 
first. 'Look! Look!' 

The bridegroom looked, and on one side of the road 
he saw a large ball of thread of all colours of all the 
colours, that is, of the dresses that were tied on to 
the back of the cart. 

'Well, that is a wonderful piece of good fortune,' 
cried he, as he sprang out to get it. 'One would think a 
fairy had put it there on purpose.' 

'Perhaps she has,' laughed the girl, and as she spoke 
she seemed to hear an echo of her laughter coming from 
the horse, but of course that was nonsense. 

The dressmaker was delighted with the thread that 
was given her. It matched the stuffs so perfectly, and 
never tied itself in knots, or broke perpetually, as most 
thread did. She finished her work much quicker than 
she expected, and the bride said she was to be sure to 
come to the church and see her in her wedding dress. 

There was a great crowd assembled to witness the 
ceremony, for the young people were immense favourites 
in the neighbourhood, and their parents were very rich. 
The doors were open, and the bride could be seen from 
afar, walking under the chestnut avenue. 


'What a beautiful girl!' exclaimed the men. 'What 
a lovely dress!' whispered the women. But just as she 
entered the church and took the hand of the bridegroom, 
who was waiting for her, a loud noise was heard. 

'Crick! crack! Crick! crack!' and the wedding 
garments fell to the ground, to the great confusion of 
the wearer. 

Not that the ceremony was put off for a little thing 
like that. Cloaks in profusion were instantly offered to 
the young bride, but she was so upset that she could 
hardly keep from tears. One of the guests, more curious 
than the rest, stayed behind to examine the dress, deter- 
mined, if she could, to find out the cause of the 

'The thread must have been rotten,' she said to her- 
self. 'I will see if I can break it.' But search as she 
would she could find none. 

The thread had vanished. 

From 'Litterature Orale de 1'Auvergne,' par Paul Sebillot.' 


THERE was once a king who had three daughters. The 
two eldest were very proud and quarrelsome, but the 
youngest was as good as they were bad. Well, three 
princes came to court them, and two of them were exactly 
like the eldest ladies, and one was just as lovable as 
the youngest. One day they were all walking down 
to a lake that lay at the bottom of the lawn when they 
met a poor beggar. The king wouldn't give him anything, 
and the eldest princesses wouldn't give him anything, 
nor their sweethearts; but the youngest daughter and 
her true love did give him something, and kind words 
along with it, and that was better than all. 

When they got to the edge of the lake what did they 
find but the beautifullest boat you ever saw in your life; 
and says the eldest, 'I'll take a sail in this fine boat'; 
and says the second eldest, 'I'll take a sail in this fine 
boat'; and says the youngest, 'I won't take a sail in 
that fine boat, for I am afraid it's an enchanted one.' 
But the others persuaded her to go in, and her father 
was just going in after her, when up sprung on the deck 
a little man only seven inches high, and ordered him 
to stand back. Well, all the men put their hands to 
their swords; and if the same swords were only play- 
things, they weren't able to draw them, for all strength 
that was left their arms. Seven Inches loosened the 
silver chain that fastened the boat, and pushed away, 
and after grinning at the four men, says he to them, 'Bid 
your daughters and your brides farewell for awhile. 


You,' says he to the youngest, 'needn't fear, you'll 
recover your princess all in good time, and you and 
she will be as happy as the day is long. Bad people, 
if they were rolling stark naked in gold, would not be 
rich. Good-bye.' Away they sailed, and the ladies 
stretched out their hands, but weren't able to say a 

Well, they weren't crossing the lake while a cat 'ud 
be lickin' her ear, and the poor men couldn't stir hand 
or foot to follow them. They saw Seven Inches handing 
the three princesses out of the boat, and letting them 
down by a basket into a draw-well, but king nor princes 
ever saw an opening before in the same place. When 
the last lady was out of sight, the men found the 
strength in their arms and legs again. Round the lake 
they ran, and never drew rein till they came to the well 
and windlass; and there was the silk rope rolled on the 
axle, and the nice white basket hanging to it. 'Let me 
down,' says the youngest prince. 'I'll die or recover them 
again.' 'No,' says the second daughter's sweetheart, 'it 
is my turn first.' And says the other, 'I am the eldest.' 
So they gave way to him, and in he got into the basket, 
and down they let him. First they lost sight of him, 
and then, after winding off a hundred perches of the silk 
rope, it slackened, and they stopped turning. They 
waited two hours, and then they went to dinner, because 
there was no pull made at the rope. 

Guards were set till next morning, and then down went 
the second prince, and sure enough, the youngest of all 
got himself let down on the third day. He went down 
perches and perches, while it was as dark about him as 
if he was in a big pot with a cover on. At last he saw 
a glimmer far down, and in a short time he felt the ground. 
Out he came from the big lime-kiln, and, lo! and 
behold you, there was a wood, and green fields, and 
a castle in a lawn, and a bright sky over all. 'It's in 
Tir-na-n-Oge I am,' says he. 'Let's see what sort of 




people are in the castle.' On he walked, across fields 
and lawn, and no one was there to keep him out or let 
him into the castle; but the big hall-door was wide 
open. He went from one fine room to another that 

was finer, and at last he reached the handsomest of all, 
with a table in the middle. And such a dinner as was 
laid upon it! The prince was hungry enough, but he 
was too mannerly to eat without being invited. So he 
sat by the fire, and he did not wait long till he heard 


steps, and in came Seven Inches with the youngest sister 
by the hand. Well, prince and princess flew into one 
another's arms, and says the little man, says he, 'Why 
aren't you eating?' 'I think, sir,' says the prince, 'it 
was only good manners to wait to be asked.' 'The 
other princes didn't think so,' says he. 'Each o' them 
fell to without leave, and only gave me the rough words 
when I told them they were making more free than 
welcome. Well, I don't think they feel much hunger 
now. There they are, good marble instead of flesh and 
blood,' says he, pointing to two statues, one in one cor- 
ner, and the other in the other corner of the room. The 
prince was frightened, but he was afraid to say any- 
thing, and Seven Inches made him sit down to dinner 
between himself and his bride; and he'd be as happy as 
the day is long, only for the sight of the stone men 
in the corner. Well, that day went by, and when 
the next came, says Seven Inches to him, 'Now, you'll 
have to set out that way,' pointing to the sun, 'and you'll 
find the second princess in a giant's castle this evening, 
when you'll be tired and hungry, and the eldest 
princess to-morrow evening; and you may as well bring 
them here with you. You need not ask leave of their 
masters; and perhaps if they ever get home, they'll 
look on poor people as if they were flesh and blood like 

Away went the prince, and bedad! it's tired and 
hungry he was when he reached the first castle, at sunset. 
Oh, wasn't the second princess glad to see him! and 
what a good supper she gave him. But she heard the 
giant at the gate, and she hid the prince in a closet. 
Well, when he came in, he snuffed, an' he snuffed, and 
says he, 'By the life, I smell fresh meat.' 'Oh,' says 
the princess, 'it's only the calf I got killed to-day.' 'Ay, 
ay,' says he, 'is supper ready?' 'It is,' says she; and 
before he rose from the table he ate three-quarters of 
a calf, and a flask of wine. 'I think,' says he, when 


all was done, 'I smell fresh meat still.' 'It's sleepy 
you are,' says she; 'go to bed.' 'When will you marry 
me?' says the giant. 'You're putting me off too long.' 
'St. Tibb's Eve,' says she. 'I wish I knew how far off 
that is,' says he; and he fell asleep, with his head 
in the dish. 

Next day, he went out after breakfast, and she sent 
the prince to the castle where the eldest sister was. The 
same thing happened there; but when the giant was 
snoring, the princess wakened up the prince, and they 
saddled two steeds in the stables and rode into the field 
on them. But the horses' heels struck the stones out- 
side the gate, and up got the giant and strode after 
them. He roared and he shouted, and the more he 
shouted, the faster ran the horses, and just as the day 
was breaking he was only twenty perches behind. 
But the prince didn't leave the castle of Seven Inches 
without being provided with something good. He 
reined in his steed, and flung a short, sharp knife 
over his shoulder, and up sprung a thick wood between 
the giant and themselves. They caught the wind that 
blew before them, and the wind that blew behind them 
did not catch them. At last they were near the castle 
where the other sister lived; and there she was, 
waiting for them under a high hedge, and a fine steed 
under her. 

But the giant was now in sight, roaring like a hundred 
lions, and the other giant was out in a moment, and 
the chase kept on. For every two springs the horses 
gave, the giants gave three, and at last they were only 
seventy perches off. Then the prince stopped again, 
and flung the second knife behind him. Down went 
all the flat field, till there was a quarry between them 
a quarter of a mile deep, and the bottom filled with black 
water; and before the giants could get round it, the 
prince and princesses were inside the kingdom of the 
great magician, where the high thorny hedge opened of 


itself to everyone that he chose to let in. There was 
joy enough between the three sisters, till the two 
eldest saw their lovers turned into stone. But while 
they were shedding tears for them, Seven Inches came 
in, and touched them with his rod. So they were flesh, 
and blood, and life once more, and there was great 
hugging and kissing, and all sat down to breakfast, and 
Seven Inches sat at the head of the table. 

When breakfast was over, he took them into another 
room, where there was nothing but heaps of gold, and 
silver, and diamonds, and silks, and satins; and on a 
table there was lying three sets of crowns: a gold crown 
was in a silver crown, and that was lying in a copper 
crown. He took up one set of crowns, and gave it to 
the eldest princess; and another set, and gave it to the 
second youngest princess; and another, and gave it to 
the youngest of all; and says he, 'Now you may all 
go to the bottom of the pit, and you have nothing to 
do but stir the basket, and the people that are watching 
above will draw you up. But remember, ladies, you 
are to keep your crowns safe, and be married in them, 
all the same day. If you be married separately, or if 
you be married without your crowns, a curse will follow 
- mind what I say.' 

So they took leave of him with great respect, and 
walked arm-in-arm to the bottom of the draw-well. 
There was a sky and a sun over them, and a great high 
wall, covered with ivy, rose before them, and was so high 
they could not see to the top of it; and there was an 
arch in this wall, and the botttom of the draw-well was 
inside the arch. The youngest pair went last; and says 
the princess to the prince, 'I'm sure the two princes 
don't mean any good to you. Keep these crowns under 
your cloak, and if you are obliged to stay last, don't get 
into the basket, but put a big stone, or any heavy thing 
inside, and see what will happen.' 

As soon as they were inside the dark cave, they put 


in the eldest princess first, and stirred the basket, and 
up she went. Then the basket was let down again, 
and up went the second princess, and then up went the 
youngest; but first she put her arms round her prince's 
neck, and kissed him, and cried a little. At last it came 
to the turn of the youngest prince, and instead of going 
into the basket he put in a big stone. He drew on one 
side and listened, and after the basket was drawn up 
about twenty perches, down came it and the stone like 
thunder, and the stone was broken into little bits. 

Well, the poor prince had nothing for it but to walk 
back to the castle; and through it and round it he 
walked, and the finest of eating and drinking he got, and 
a bed of bog-down to sleep on, and long walks he took 
through gardens and lawns, but not a sight could he get, 
high or low, of Seven Inches. He, before a week, got 
tired of it, he was so lonesome for his true love; and 
at the end of a month he didn't know what to do with 

One morning he went into the treasure room, and 
took notice of a beautiful snuff-box on the table that he 
didn't remember seeing there before. He took it in his 
hands and opened it, and out Seven Inches walked on 
the table. 'I think, prince,' says he, 'you're getting a 
little tired of my castle?' 'Ah!' says the other, 'if I 
had my princess here, and could see you now and then, 
I'd never know a dismal day.' 'Well, you're long enough 
here now, and you're wanted there above. Keep your 
bride's crowns safe, and whenever you want my help, 
open this snuff-box. Now take a walk down the garden, 
and come back when you're tired.' 

The prince was going down a gravel walk with a quick- 
set hedge on each side, and his eyes on the ground, and 
he was thinking of one thing and another. At last 
he lifted his eyes, and there he was outside of a smith's 
gate, that he often passed before, about a mile away 
from the palace of his betrothed princess. The clothes 


he had on him were as ragged as you please, but he had 
his crowns safe under his old cloak. 

Then the smith came out, and says he, 'It's a shame 
for a strong, big fellow like you to be lazy, and so much 
work to be done. Are you any good with hammer 
and tongs? Come in and bear a hand, an I'll give you 
diet and lodging, and a few pence when you earn 
them.' 'Never say't twice,' says the prince. 'I want 
nothing but to be busy.' So he took the hammer, 
and pounded away at the red-hot bar that the smith 
was turning on the anvil to make into a set of 

They hadn't been long at work when a tailor came 
in, and he sat down and began to talk. 'You all heard 
how the two princesses were loth to be married till the 
youngest would be ready with her crowns and her sweet- 
heart. But after the windlass loosened accidentally 
when they were pulling up her bridegroom that was to 
be, there was no more sign of a well, or a rope, or a wind- 
lass, than there is on the palm of your hand. So the 
princes that were courting the eldest ladies wouldn't 
give peace or ease to their lovers nor the king till they 
got consent to the marriage, and it was to take place 
this morning. Myself went down out o' curiosity, and 
to be sure I was delighted with the grand dresses of 
the two brides, and the three crowns on their heads 
gold, silver, and copper, one inside the other. The 
youngest was standing by mournful enough, and all was 
ready. The two bridegrooms came in as proud and 
grand as you please, and up they were walking to the 
altar rails, when the boards opened two yards wide under 
their feet and down they went among the dead men and 
the coffins in the vaults. Oh, such shrieks as the ladies 
gave! and such running and racing and peeping down 
as there was! but the clerk soon opened the door of the 
vault, and up came the two princes, their fine clothes 
covered an inch thick with cobwebs and mould. 


So the king said they should put off the marriage. 
'For,' says he, 'I see there is no use in thinking of it 
till the youngest gets her three crowns, and is married 
with the others. I'll give my youngest daughter for a 
wife to whoever brings three crowns to me like the others; 
and if he doesn't care to be married, some other one 
will, and I'll make his fortune.' 

'I wish,' says the smith, 'I could do it; but I was 
looking at the crowns after the princesses got home, 
and I don't think there's a black or a white smith on 
the face of the earth that could imitate them.' 'Faint 
heart never won fair lady,' says the prince. 'Go to 
the palace and ask for a quarter of a pound of gold, a 
quarter of a pound of silver, and a quarter of a pound 
of copper. Get one crown for a pattern, and my head 
for a pledge, I'll give you out the very things that are 
wanted in the morning.' 'Are you in earnest?' says 
the smith. 'Faith, I am so,' says he. 'Go! you can't 
do worse than lose.' 

To make a long story short, the smith got the 
quarter of a pound of gold, and the quarter of a pound 
of silver, and the quarter of a pound of copper, and 
gave them and the pattern crown to the prince. He 
shut the forge door at nightfall, and the neighbours all 
gathered in the yard, and they heard him hammering, 
hammering, hammering, from that to daybreak; and 
every now and then he'd throw out through the window 
bits of gold, silver, and copper; and the idlers scrambled 
for them, and cursed one another, and prayed for the 
good luck of the workman. 

Well, just as the sun was thinking to rise, he opened 
the door, and brought out the three crowns he got from 
his true love, and such shouting and huzzaing as there 
was! The smith asked him to go along with him to 
the palace, but he refused; so off set the smith, and the 
whole townland with him; and wasn't the king rejoiced 
when he saw the crowns! 'Well,' says he to the smith, 


'you're a married man. What's to be done?' 'Faith, 
your majesty, I didn't make them crowns at all. It 
was a big fellow that took service with me yesterday.' 
'Well, daughter, will you marry the fellow that made 
these crowns?' 'Let me see them first, father,' said 
she; but when she examined them she knew them 
right well, and guessed it was her true love that 
sent them. 'I will marry the man that these crowns 
came from,' says she. 

'Well,' says the king to the eldest of the two princes, 
'go up to the smith's forge, take my best coaches, and 
bring home the bridegroom.' He did not like doing this, 
he was so proud, but he could not refuse. When he came 
to the forge he saw the prince standing at the door, and 
beckoned him over to the coach. 'Are you the fellow,' 
says he, 'that made these crowns?' 'Yes,' says the other. 
'Then,' says he, 'maybe you'd give yourself a brushing, 
and get into that coach; the king wants to see you. 
I pity the princess.' The young prince got into the 
carriage, and while they were on the way he opened 
the snuff-box, and out walked Seven Inches, and stood 
on his thigh. 'Well,' says he, 'what trouble is on you 
now?' 'Master,' says the other, 'please let me go back 
to my forge, and let this carriage be filled with paving 
stones.' No sooner said than done. The prince was 
sitting in his forge, and the horses wondered what was 
after happening to the carriage. 

When they came into the palace yard, the king him- 
self opened the carriage door, for respect to his new 
son-in-law. As soon as he turned the handle, a shower 
of small stones fell on his powdered wig and his silk 
coat, and down he fell under them. There was great 
fright and some laughter, and the king, after he wiped 
the blood from his forehead, looked very cross at the 
eldest prince. 'My lord,' says he, 'I'm very sorry for 
this accident, but I'm not .to blame. I saw the young 
smith get into the carriage, and we never stopped a 


minute since.' 'It's uncivil you were to him. Go,' 
says he to the other prince, 'and bring the young smith 
here, and be polite.' 'Never fear,' says he. 

But there's some people that couldn't be good- 
natured if they tried, and not a bit civiller was the new 
messenger than the old, and when the king opened the 
carriage door a second time, it's a shower of mud that 
came down on him. 'There's no use,' says he, 'going 
on this way. The fox never got a better messenger 
than himself.' 

So he changed his clothes, and washed himself, and 
out he set to the prince's forge and asked him to sit along 
with himself. The prince begged to be allowed to sit in 
the other carriage, and when they were half-way he 
opened his snuff-box. 'Master,' says he, 'I'd wish to 
be dressed now according to my rank.' 'You shall be 
that,' says Seven Inches. 'And now I'll bid you fare- 
well. Continue as good and kind as you always were; 
love your wife; and that's all the advice I'll give you.' 
So Seven Inches vanished; and when the carriage door 
was opened in the yard, out walks the prince as fine as 
hands could make him, and the first thing he did was 
to run over to his bride and embrace her. 

Every one was full of joy but the two other princes. 
There was not much delay about the marriages, and they 
were all celebrated on the one day. Soon after, the two 
elder couples went to their own courts, but the youngest 
pair stayed with the old king, and they were as happy 
as the happiest married couple you ever heard of in a 

From 'West Highland Tales.' 


ONCE upon a time there lived in a little village in the 
very middle of France a widow and her only son, a boy 
about fifteen, whose name was Antoine, though no one 
ever called him anything but Toueno-Boueno. They 
were very poor indeed, and their hut shook about their 
ears on wind}' nights, till they expected the walls to 
fall in and crush them, but instead of going to work as a 
boy of his age ought to do, Toueno-Boueno did nothing 
but lounge along the street, his eyes fixed on the ground, 
seeing nothing that went on round him. 

'You are very, very stupid, my dear child,' his 
mother would sometimes say to him, and then she would 
add with a laugh, 'Certainly you will never catch a wolf 
by the tail.' 

One day the old woman bade Antoine go into the 
forest and collect enough dry leaves to make beds for 
herself and him. Before he had finished it began to 
rain heavily, so he hid himself in the hollow trunk of a 
tree, where he was so dry and comfortable that he soon 
fell fast asleep. By and bye he was awakened by a 
noise which sounded like a dog scratching at the door, 
and he suddenly felt frightened, why he did not know. 
Very cautiously he raised his head, and right above 
him he saw a big hairy animal, coming down tail fore- 

'It is the wolf that they talk so much about,' he 


said to himself, and he made himself as small as he could 
and shrunk into a corner. 

The wolf came down the inside of the tree, slowly, 
slowly; Antoine felt turned to stone, so terrified was he, 
and hardly dared to breathe. Suddenly an idea entered 
his mind, which he thought might save him still. He 
remembered to have heard from his mother that a wolf 
could neither bend his back nor turn his head, so as to 
look behind him, and quick as lightning he stretched up 
his hand, and seizing the wolf's tail, pulled it towards 

Then he left the tree and dragged the animal to his 
mother's house. 

'Mother, you have often declared that I was too 
stupid to catch a wolf by the tail. Now see,' he cried 

'Well, well, wonders will never cease,' answered the 
good woman, who took care to keep at a safe distance. 
'But as you really have got him, let us see if we can't 
put him to some use. Fetch the skin of the ram which 
died last week out of the chest, and we will sew the wolf 
up in it. He will make a splendid ram, and to-morrow 
we will drive him to the fair and sell him.' 

Very likely the wolf, who was cunning and clever, 
may have understood what she said, but he thought it 
best to give no sign, and suffered the skin to be sewn 
upon him. 

'I can always get away if I choose,' thought he, 'it 
is better not to be in a hurry'; so he remained quite 
still while the skin was drawn over his head, which made 
him very hot and uncomfortable, and resisted the tempta- 
tion to snap off the fingers or noses that were so close 
to his mouth. 

The fair was at its height next day when Toueno- 
Boueno arrived with his wolf in ram's clothing. All the 
farmers crowded round him, each offering a higher price 


than the last. Never had they beheld such a beauti- 
ful beast, said they, and at last, after much bargaining, 
he was handed over to three brothers for a good sum 
of money. 

It happened that these three brothers owned large 
flocks of sheep, though none so large and fine as the one 
they had just bought. 

'My flock is the nearest,' observed the eldest brother; 
'we will leave him in the fold for the night, and to- 


morrow we will decide which pastures will be best for 
him.' And the wolf grinned as he listened, and held up 
his head a little higher than before. 

Early next morning the young farmer began to go 
his rounds, and the sheep-fold was the first place he 
visited. To his horror, the sheep were all stretched 
out dead before him, except one, which the wolf had 
eaten, bones and all. Instantly the truth flashed upon 
him. It was no ram that lay curled up in the corner 
pretending to be asleep (for in reality he could bend 
back and turn his head as much as he liked), but a wolf 
who was watching him out of the corner of his eye, and 
might spring upon him at any moment. So the farmer 
took no notice, and only thought that here was a fine 
chance of revenging himself on his next brother for 
a trick which he had played, and merely told him that 
the ram would not eat the grass in that field, and it might 
be well to drive him to the pasture by the river, where 
his own flock was feeding. The second brother eagerly 
swallowed the bait, and that evening the wolf was driven 
down to the field where the young man kept the sheep 
which had been left him by his father. By the next 
morning they also were all dead, but the second brother 
likewise held his peace, and allowed the sheep which be- 
longed to the youngest to share the fate of the other 
two. Then they met and confessed to each other their 
disasters, and resolved to take the animal as fast as 
possible back to Toueno-Boue"no, who should get a 
sound thrashing. 

Antoine was sitting on a plum tree belonging to a 
neighbour, eating the ripe fruit, when he saw the three 
young farmers coming towards him. Swinging himself 
down, he flew home to the hut, crying breathlessly, 
'Mother, mother, the farmers are close by with the 
wolf. They have found out all about it, and will cer- 
tainly kill me, and perhaps you too. But if you do as I 


tell you, I may be able to save us both. Lie down on 
the floor, and pretend to be dead, and be sure not to 
speak, whatever happens.' 

Thus when the three brothers, each armed with a 
whip, entered the hut a few seconds later, they found 
a woman extended on the floor, and Toueno kneeling 
at her side, whistling loudly into her ears. 

'What are you doing now, you rascal?' asked the 

'What am I doing? Oh, my poor friends, I am the 
most miserable creature in the world! I have lost the 
best of mothers, and I don't know what will become 
of me,' and he hid his face in his hands and sobbed 

'But what are you whistling like that for?' 

'Well, it is the only chance. This whistle has been 
known to bring the dead back to life, and I hoped - 
here he buried his face in his hands again, but peeping 
between his fingers he saw that the brothers had opened 
their six eyes as wide as saucers. 

'Look!' he suddenly exclaimed with a cry, 'Look! 
I am sure I felt her body move! And now her nostrils 
are twitching. Ah! the whistle has not lost its power 
after all,' and stooping down, Toueno whistled more 
loudly than before, so that the old woman's feet and 
hands showed signs of life, and she soon was able to lift 
her head. 

The farmers were so astonished at her restoration, 
that it was some time before they could speak. At length 
the eldest turned to the boy and said: 

'Now listen to me. There is no manner of doubt 
that you are a young villain. You sold us a ram knowing 
full well that it was a wolf, and we came here to-day 
to pay you out for it. But if you will give us that whistle, 
we will pardon what you have done, and will leave you 

'It is my only treasure, and I set great store by it,' 


answered the boy, pretending to hesitate. 'But as you 
wish for it so much, well, I suppose I can't refuse,' and 
he held out the whistle, which the eldest brother put in 
his pocket. 

Armed with the precious whistle, the three brothers 
returned home full of joy, and as they went the youngest 
said to the others, 'I have such a good idea! Our wives 
are all lazy and grumbling, and make our lives a burden. 
Let us give them a lesson, and kill them as soon as we 
get in. Of course we can restore them to life at once, 
but they will have had a rare fright.' 

'Ah, how clever you are,' answered the other two. 
'Nobody else would have thought of that.' 

So gaily the three husbands knocked down their three 
wives, who fell dead to the ground. Then one by one 
the men tried the whistle, and blew so loudly that it 
seemed as if their lungs would burst, but the women 
lay stark and stiff and never moved an eyelid. The 
husbands grew pale and cold, for they had never dreamed 
of this, nor meant any harm, and after a while they 
understood that their efforts were of no use, and that 
once more the boy had tricked them. With stern faces 
they rose to their feet, and taking a large sack they 
retraced their steps to the hut. 

This time there was no escape. Toueno had been 
asleep, and only opened his eyes as they entered. With- 
out a word on either side they thrust him into the sack, 
and tying up the mouth, the eldest threw it over his 
shoulders. After that they all set out to the river, 
where they intended to drown the boy. 

But the river was a long way off, and the day was 
very hot and Antoine was heavy, heavier than a whole 
sheaf of corn. They carried him in turns, but even so 
they grew very tired and thirsty, and when a little tavern 
came in sight on the roadside, they thankfully flung 
the sack down on a bench and entered to refresh them- 


selves. They never noticed that a beggar was sitting 
in the shade of the end of the bench, but Toue"no's sharp 
ears caught the sound of someone eating, and as soon 
as the farmers had gone into the inn, he began to groan 

'What is the matter?' asked the beggar drawing 
a little nearer. ' Why have they shut you up, poor boy? ' 

'Because they wanted to make me a bishop, and I 
would not consent,' answered Toueno. 

'Dear me,' exclaimed the beggar, 'yet it isn't such a 
bad thing to be a bishop.' 

'I don't say it is,' replied the young rascal, 'but 7 
should never like it. However, if you have any fancy 
for wearing a mitre, you need only untie the sack, and 
take my place.' 

'I should like nothing better,' said the man, as he 
stooped to undo the big knot. 

So it was the beggar and not Toueno-Bueno who 
was flung into the water. 

The next morning the three wives were buried, and 
on returning from the cemetery, their husbands met 
Toueno-Bueno driving a magnificent flock of sheep. 
At the sight of him the three farmers stood still %'ith 

'What! you scoundrel!' they cried at last, 'we drowned 
you yesterday, and to-day we find you again, as well 
as ever!' 

'It does seem odd, doesn't it?' answered he. 'But 
perhaps you don't know that beneath this world there 
lies another yet more beautiful and far, far richer. Well, 
it was there that you sent me when you flung me into 
the river, and though I felt a little strange at first, yet 
I soon began to look about me, and to see what was 
happening. There I noticed that close to the place I 
had fallen, a sheep fair was being held, and a bystander 
told me that every day horses or cattle were sold some- 


where in the town. If I had only had the luck to be 
thrown into the river on the side of the horse fair I might 
have made my fortune! As it was, I had to content 
myself with buying these sheep, which you can get for 

'And do you know exactly the spot in the river which 
lies over the horse fair?' 

'As if I did not know it, when I have seen it with my 
own eyes.' 

'Then if you do not want us to avenge our dead flocks 
and our murdered wives, you will have to throw us into 
the river just over the place of the horse fair.' 

'Very well; only you must get three sacks and come 
with me to that rock which juts into the river. I will 
throw you in from there, and you will fall nearly on to 
the horses' backs.' 

So he threw them in, and as they were never seen 
again, no one ever knew into which fair they had fallen. 

From ' Litte'rature Orale de 1'Auvergne,' par Paul Sebillot. 


THERE was once a king in Ireland, and he had three 
daughters, and very nice princesses they were. And 
one day, when they and their father were walking on 
the lawn, the king began to joke with them, and to ask 
them whom they would like to be married to. 'I'll have 
the king of Ulster for a husband/ says one; 'and I'll 
have the king of Munster,' says another; 'and,' says the 
youngest, 'I'll have no husband but the Brown Bear of 
Norway.' For a nurse of hers used to be telling her 
of an enchanted prince that she called by that name, 
and she fell in love with him, and his name was the 
first name on her tongue, for the very night before she 
was dreaming of him. Well, one laughed, and another 
laughed, and they joked with the princess all the rest of 
the evening. But that very night she woke up out of 
her sleep in a great hall that was lighted up with a thou- 
sand lamps; the richest carpets were on the floor, and 
the walls were covered with cloth of gold and silver, 
and the place was full of grand company, and the very 
beautiful prince she saw in her dreams was there, and 
it wasn't a moment till he was on one knee before her, 
and telling her how much he loved her, and asking her 
wouldn't she be his queen. Well, she hadn't the heart 
to refuse him, and married they were in the same evening. 
'Now, my darling,' says he, when they were left by 
themselves, 'you must know that I am under enchant- 
ment. A sorceress, that had a beautiful daughter, 
wished me for her son-in-law; but the mother got 


power over me, and when I refused to wed her 
daughter she made me take the form of a bear by day, 
and I was to continue so till a lady would marry me of 
her own free will, and endure five years of great trials 

Well, when the princess woke in the morning, she 
missed her husband from her side, and spent the day 
very sadly. But as soon as the lamps were lighted in 
the grand hall, where she was sitting on a sofa covered 
with silk, the folding doors flew open, and he was sitting 
by her side the next minute. So they spent another 
happy evening, but he warned her that whenever she 
began to tire of him, or ceased to have faith in him, 
they would be parted for ever, and he'd be obliged to 
marry the witch's daughter. 

She got used to find him absent by day, and they 
spent a happy twelvemonth together, and at last a 
beautiful little boy was born; and happy as she was 
before, she was twice as happy now, for she had her 
child to keep her company in the day when she couldn't 
see her husband. 

At last, one evening, when herself, and himself, and 
her child were sitting with a window open because it 
was a sultry night, in flew an eagle, took the infant's 
sash in his beak, and flew up in the air with him. She 
screamed, and was going to throw herself out through 
the window after him, but the prince caught her, and 
looked at her very seriously. She bethought of what 
he said soon after their marriage, and she stopped the 
cries and complaints that were on her tongue. She spent 
her days very lonely for another twelvemonth, when a 
beautiful little girl was sent to her. Then she thought 
to herself she'd have a sharp eye about her this time; 
so she never would allow a window to be more than a few 
inches open. 

But all her care was in vain. Another evening, when 
they were all so happy, and the prince dandling the 


baby, a beautiful greyhound stood before them, took 
the child out of the father's hand, and was out of the 
door before you could wink. This time she shouted 
and ran out of the room, but there were some of the 
servants in the next room, and all declared that neither 
child nor dog passed out. She felt, somehow, as if it 
was her husband's fault, but still she kept command 
over herself, and didn't once reproach him. 

When the third child was born she would hardly allow 
a window or a door to be left open for a moment; but 
she wasn't the nearer to keep the child to herself. They 
were sitting one evening by the fire, when a lady appeared 
standing by them. The princess opened her eyes in a 
great fright and stared at her, and while she was doing 
so, the lady wrapped a shawl round the baby that 
was sitting in its father's lap, and either sank through 
the ground with it or went up through the wide 
chimney. This time the mother kept her bed for a 

'My dear,' said she to her husband, when she was 
beginning to recover, 'I think I'd feel better if I 
was to see my father and mother and sisters once 
more. If you give me leave to go home for a few 
days, I'd be glad.' 'Very well,' said he, 'I will do 
that, and whenever you feel inclined to return, only 
mention your wish when you lie down at night.' The 
next morning when she awoke she found herself in 
her own old chamber in her father's palace. She rang 
the bell, and in a short time she had her mother 
and father and married sisters about her, and they 
laughed till they cried for joy at finding her safe 
back again. 

In time she told them all that happened to her, and 
they didn't know what to advise her to do. She was 
as fond of her husband as ever, and said she was sure 
that he couldn't help letting the children go; but still 
she was afraid beyond the world to have another child 

Princess loses \er -first Baby 


torn from her. Well, the mother and sisters consulted 
a wise woman that used to bring eggs to the castle, 
for they had great faith in her wisdom. She said the 
only plan was to secure the bear's skin that the 
prince was obliged to put on every morning, and get 
it burned, and then he couldn't help being a man 
night and day, and the enchantment would be at an 

So they all persuaded her to do that, and she promised 
she would; and after eight days she felt so great a long- 
ing to see her husband again that she made the wish 
the same night, and when she woke three hours after, 
she was in her husband's palace, and he himself was 
watching over her. There was great joy on both sides, 
and they were happy for many days. 

Now she began to think how she never minded her 
husband leaving her in the morning, and how she never 
found him neglecting to give her a sweet drink out of a 
gold cup just as she was going to bed. 

One night she contrived not to drink any of it, though 
she pretended to do so; and she was wakeful enough 
in the morning, and saw her husband passing out through 
a panel in the wainscot, though she kept her eyelids 
nearly closed. The next night she got a few drops 
of the sleepy posset that she saved the evening before 
put into her husband's night drink, and that made him 
sleep sound enough. She got up after midnight, passed 
through the panel, and found a beautiful brown bear's 
hide hanging in the corner. Then she stole back, 
and went down to the parlour fire, and put the hide 
into the middle of it till it was all fine ashes. She then 
lay down by her husband, gave him a kiss on the cheek, 
and fell asleep. 

If she was to live a hundred years she'd never forget 
how she wakened next morning, and found her husband 
looking down on her with misery and anger in his face. 
'Unhappy woman,' said he, 'you have separated us 


for ever! Why hadn't you patience for five years? 
I am now obliged, whether I like or no, to go a three 
days' journey to the witch's castle, and marry her daugh- 
ter. The skin that was my guard you have burned 
it, and the egg-wife that gave you the counsel was 
the witch herself. I won't reproach you: your pun- 
ishment will be severe enough without it. Farewell 
for ever!' 

He kissed her for the last time, and was off the next 
minute, walking as fast as he could. She shouted after 
him, and then seeing there was no use, she dressed her- 
self and pursued him. He never stopped, nor stayed, 
nor looked back, and still she kept him in sight; and 
when he was on the hill she was in the hollow, and when 
he was in the hollow she was on the hill. Her life was 
almost leaving her, when, just as the sun was setting, 
he turned up a lane, and went into a little house. She 
crawled up after him, and when she got inside there 
was a beautiful little boy on his knees, and he kissing 
and hugging him. 'Here, my poor darling,' says he, 'is 
your eldest child, and there/ says he, pointing to a 
woman that was looking on with a smile on her 
face, 'is the eagle that carried him away.' She forgot 
all her sorrows in a moment, hugging her child, and 
laughing and crying over him. The woman washed 
their feet, and rubbed them with an ointment that took 
all the soreness out of their bones, and made them as 
fresh as a daisy. Next morning, just before sunrise, 
he was up, and prepared to be off. 'Here,' said he to 
her, ' is a thing which may be of use to you. It's a scissors, 
and whatever stuff you cut with it will be turned into 
silk. The moment the sun rises, I'll lose all memory 
of yourself and the children, but I'll get it at sunset 
again. Farewell!' But he wasn't far gone till she 
was in sight of him again, leaving her boy behind. It 
was the same to-day as yesterday: their shadows went 
before them in the morning and followed them in the 


evening. He never stopped, and she never stopped, 
and as the sun was setting he turned up another lane, 
and there they found their little daughter. It was 
all joy and comfort again till morning, and then the 
third day's journey commenced. 

But before he started he gave her a comb, and told 
her that whenever she used it, pearls and diamonds 
would fall from her hair. Still he had his memory from 
sunset to sunrise; but from sunrise to sunset he travelled 
on under the charm, and never threw his eye behind. 
This night they came to where the youngest baby was, 
and the next morning, just before sunrise, the prince 
spoke to her for the last time. 'Here, my poor wife,' 
said he, 'is a little hand-reel, with gold thread that 
has no end, and the half of our marriage ring. If you 
ever get to my house, and put your half-ring to mine, 
I shall recollect you. There is a wood yonder, and the 
moment I enter it I will forget everything that ever 
happened between us, just as if I was born yesterday. 
Farewell, dear wife and child, for ever!' Just then 
the sun rose, and away he walked towards the wood. 
S"he saw it open before him, and close after him, and 
when she came up, she could no more get in than she 
could break through a stone wall. She wrung her hands 
and shed tears, but then she recollected herself, and 
cried out, 'Wood, I charge you by my three magic gifts, 
the scissors, the comb, and the reel --to let me through'; 
and it opened, and she went along a walk till she came 
in sight of a palace, and a lawn, and a woodman's 
cottage on the edge of the wood where it came nearest 
the palace. 

She went into this lodge, and asked the woodman 
and his wife to take her into their service. They were 
not willing at first; but she told them she would ask 
no wages, and would give them diamonds, and pearls, 
and silk stuffs, and gold thread whenever they wished 
for them, and then they agreed to let her stay. 


It wasn't long till she heard how a young prince, that 
was just arrived, was living in the palace of the young 
mistress. He seldom stirred abroad, and every one that 
saw him remarked how silent and sorrowful he went 
about, like a person that was searching for some lost 

The servants and conceited folk at the big house 
began to take notice of the beautiful young woman at 
the lodge, and to annoy her with their impudence. The 
head footman was the most troublesome, and at last 
she invited him to come and take tea with her. Oh, how 
rejoiced he was, and how he bragged of it in the servants' 
hall! Well, the evening came, and the footman walked 
into the lodge, and was shown to her sitting-room; 
for the lodge-keeper and his wife stood in great awe 
of her, and gave her two nice rooms for herself. Well, 
he sat down as stiff as a ramrod, and was talking 
in a grand style about the great doings at the castle, 
while she was getting the tea and toast ready. 'Oh,' 
says she to him, 'would you put your hand out at 
the window and cut me off a sprig or two of honey- 
suckle? ' He got up in great glee, and put out his hand 
and head; and said she, 'By the virtue of my magic 
gifts, let a pair of horns spring out of your head, 
and sing to the lodge.' Just as she wished, so it was. 
They sprung from the front of each ear, and met 
at the back. Oh, the poor wretch! And how he 
bawled and roared! and the servants that he used to 
be boasting to were soon flocking from the castle, and 
grinning and huzzaing, and beating tunes on tongs 
and shovels and pans; and he cursing and swearing, 
and the eyes ready to start out of his head, and he so 
black in the face, and kicking out his legs behind like 

At last she pitied him, and removed the charm, and 
the horns dropped down on the ground, and he would 
have killed her on the spot, only he was as weak 


as water, and his fellow-servants came in and carried 
him up to the big house. 

Well, some way or other the story came to the ears 
of the prince, and he strolled down that way. She had 
only the dress of a countrywoman on her as she sat 
sewing at the window, but that did not hide her beauty, 
and he was greatly puzzled after he had a good look, 
just as a body is puzzled to know whether something hap- 
pened to him when he was young or if he only dreamed 
it. Well, the witch's daughter heard about it too, and 
she came to see the strange girl; and what did she find 
her doing but cutting out the pattern of a gown from 
brown paper; and as she cut away, the paper became 
the richest silk she ever saw. The witch's daughter 
looked on with greedy eyes, and, says she, 'What would 
you be satisfied to take for that scissors?' 'I'll take 
nothing,' says she, 'but leave to spend one night out- 
side the prince's chamber.' Well, the proud lady fired 
up, and was going to say something dreadful; but the 
scissors kept on cutting, and the silk growing richer 
and richer every inch. So she promised what the girl 
had asked her. 

When the night came on she was let into the palace and 
lay down till the prince was in such a dead sleep that all 
she did couldn't awake him. She sung this verse to 
him, sighing and sobbing, and kept singing it the night 
long, and it was all in vain: 

Four long years I was married to thee; 

Three sweet babes I bore to thee; 

Brown Bear of Norway, won't you turn to me? 

At the first dawn the proud lady was in the chamber, 
and led her away, and the footman of the horns put 
out his tongue at her as she was quitting the palace. 

So there was no luck so far; but the next day the 
prince passed by again and looked at her, and saluted 
her kindly, as a prince might a farmer's daughter, and 


passed on; and soon the witch's daughter passed by, 
and found her combing her hair, and pearls and diamonds 
dropping from it. 

Well, another bargain was made, and the princess 
spent another night of sorrow, and she left the castle at 
daybreak, and the footman was at his post and enjoyed 
his revenge. 

The third day the prince went by, and stopped to 
talk with the strange woman. He asked her could he 
do anything to serve her, and she said he might. She 
asked him did he ever wake at night. He said that he 
often did, but that during the last two nights he was 
listening to a sweet song in his dreams, and could not 
wake, and that the voice was one that he must have 
known and loved in some other world long ago. Says 
she, 'Did you drink any sleepy posset either of these 
evenings before you went to bed?' 'I did,' said he. 
'The two evenings my wife gave me something to drink, 
but I don't know whether it was a sleepy posset or not.' 
'Well, prince,' said she, 'as you say you would wish 
to oblige me, you can do it by not tasting any drink 
to-night.' 'I will not,' says he, and then he went on 
his walk. 

Well, the great lady came soon after the prince, and 
found the stranger using her hand-reel and winding 
thread of gold off it, and the third bargain was made. 

That evening the prince was lying on his bed at 
twilight, and his mind much disturbed; and the door 
opened, and in his princess walked, and down she sat 
by his bedside and sung: 

Four long years I was married to thee; 

Three sweet babes I bore to thee; 

Brown Bear of Norway, won't you turn to me? 

'Brown Bear of Norway!' said he. 'I don't under- 
stand you.' 'Don't you remember, prince, that I was 
your wedded wife for four years?' 'I do not,' said 




he, 'but I'm sure I wish it was so.' 'Don't you remem- 
ber our three babes, that are still alive?' 'Show me 
them. My mind is all a heap of confusion.' 'Look 
for the half of our marriage ring, that hangs at your 
neck, and fit it to this.' He did so, and the same moment 
the charm was broken. His full memory came back 
on him, and he flung his arms round his wife's neck, and 
both burst into tears. 

Well, there was a great cry outside, and the castle 
walls were heard splitting and cracking. Everyone in 
the castle was alarmed, and made their way out. The 
prince and princess went with the rest, and by the time 
all were safe on the lawn, down came the building, and 
made the ground tremble for miles round. No one ever 
saw the witch and her daughter afterwards. It was not 
long till the prince and princess had their children with 
them, and then they set out for their own palace. The 
kings of Ireland, and of Munster, and Ulster, and their 
wives, soon came to visit them, and may everyone that 
deserves it be as happy as the Brown Bear of Norway 
and his family. 

From 'West Highland Tales.' 


THERE was once a little boy whose name was Lars, and 
because he was so little he was called Little Lasse; he 
was a brave little man, for he sailed round the world in 
a pea-shell boat. 

It was summer time, when the pea shells grew long 
and green in the garden. Little Lasse crept into the pea 
bed where the pea stalks rose high above his cap, and he 
picked seventeen large shells, the longest and straightest 
he could find. 

Little Lasse thought, perhaps, that no one saw him; 
but that was foolish, for God sees everywhere. 

Then the gardener came with his gun over his 
shoulder, and he heard something rustling in the pea 

'I think that must be a sparrow,' he said. 'Ras! 
Ras!' But no sparrows flew out, for Little Lasse had 
no wings, only two small legs. 'Wait! I will load 
my gun and shoot the sparrows,' said the gardener. 

Then Little Lasse was frightened, and crept out on to 
the path. 

'Forgive me, dear gardener!' he said. 'I wanted 
to get some fine boats.' 

'Well, I will this time,' said the gardener. 'But another 
time Little Lasse must ask leave to go and look for boats 
in the pea bed.' 

'I will,' answered Lasse; and he went off to the 
shore. Then he opened the shells with a pin, split them 
carefully in two, and broke small little bits of sticks for 


the rowers' seats. Then he took the peas which were in 
the shells and put them in the boats for cargo. Some 
of the shells got broken, some remained whole, and when 
all were ready Lasse had twelve boats. But they should 
not be boats, they should be large warships. He had 
three liners, three frigates, three brigs and three 
schooners. The largest liner was called Hercules, and 
the smallest schooner The Flea. Little Lasse put all 
the twelve into the water, and they floated as splendidly 
and as proudly as any great ship over the waves of the 

And now the ships must sail round the world. The 
great island over there was Asia; that large stone Africa; 
the little island America; the small stones were Poly- 
nesia; and the shore from which the ships sailed out was 
Europe. The whole fleet set off and sailed far away 
to other parts of the world. The ships of the line steered 
a straight course to Asia, the frigates sailed to Africa, 
the brigs to America, and the schooners to Polynesia. 
But Little Lasse remained in Europe, and threw small 
stones out into the great sea. 

Now, there was on the shore of Europe a real boat, 
father's own, a beautiful white-painted boat, and Little 
Lasse got into it. Father and mother had forbidden 
this, but Little Lasse forgot. He thought he should 
very much like to travel to some other part of the 

'I shall row out a little way - - only a very little 
way,' he thought. The pea-shell boats had travelled so 
far that they only looked like little specks on the ocean. 
'I shall seize Hercules on the coast of Asia,' said Lasse, 
'and then row home again to Europe.' 

He shook the rope that held the boat, and, strange 
to say, the rope became loose. Ditsch, ratsch, a man is 
a man, and so Little Lasse manned the boat. 

Now he would row and he could row, for he had 
rowed so often on the steps at home, when the steps 


pretended to be a boat and father's big stick an oar. 
But when Little Lasse wanted to row there were no oars 
to be found in the boat. The oars were locked up in 
the boat-house, and Little Lasse had not noticed that 
the boat was empty. It is not so easy as one thinks to 
row to Asia without oars. 

What could Little Lasse do now? The boat was 
already some distance out on the sea, and the wind, 
which blew from land, was driving it still further out. 
Lasse was frightened and began to cry. But there was 
no one on the shore to hear him. Only a big crow perched 
alone in the birch tree; and the gardener's black cat sat 
under the birch tree, waiting to catch the crow. Neither 
of them troubled themselves in the least about Little 
Lasse, who was drifting out to sea. 

Ah! how sorry Little Lasse was now that he had been 
disobedient and got into the boat, when father and 
mother had so often forbidden him to do so! Now it 
was too late, he could not get back to land. Perhaps 
he would be lost out on the great sea. What should he 

When he had shouted until he was tired and no one 
heard him, he put his two little hands together and said, 
'Good God, do not be angry with Little Lasse.' And 
then he went to sleep. For although it was daylight, 
old Nukku Matti was sitting on the shores of the 'Land 
of Nod,' and was fishing for little children with his long 
fishing rod. He heard the low words which Little Lasse 
said to God, and he immediately drew the boat to him- 
self and laid Little Lasse to sleep on a bed of rose 

Then Nukku Matti said to one of the Dreams, 'Play 
with Little Lasse, so that he does not feel lone- 

It was a little dream-boy, so little, so little, that he 
was less than Lasse himself; -he had blue eyes and fair 
hair, a red cap with a silver band, and white coat with 


pearls on the collar. He came to Little Lasse and said, 
' Would you like to sail round the world? ' 

'Yes,' said Lasse in his sleep, 'I should like to.' 

'Come, then,' said the dream-boy, 'and let us sail 
in your pea-shell boats. You shall sail in Hercules and 
I shall sail in The Flea.' 

So they sailed away from the 'Land of Nod,' and in 
a little while Hercules and The Flea were on the shores 
of Asia away at the other end of the world, where the 
Ice Sea flows through Behring Straits into the Pacific 
Ocean. A long way off in the winter mist they could 
see the explorer Nordenskiold with his ship Vega trying 
to find an opening between the ice. It was so cold, so 
cold; the great icebergs glittered strangely, and the 
huge whales now lived under the ice, for they could 
not make a hole through with their awkward heads. 
All around on the dreary shore there was snow and 
snow as far as the eye could see; little grey men in 
shaggy skins moved about, and drove in small sledges 
through the snow drifts, but the sledges were drawn by 

' Shall we land here? ' asked the dream-boy. 

'No,' said Little Lasse. 'I am so afraid that the 
whales would swallow us up, and the big dogs bite us. 
Let us sail instead to another part of the world.' 

'Very well,' said the dream-boy with the red cap and 
the silver band ; ' it is not far to America ' - and at the 
same moment they were there. 

The sun was shining and it was very warm. Tall 
palm trees grew in long rows on the shore and bore coco- 
nuts in their top branches. Men red as copper galloped 
over the immense green prairies and threw their arrows 
at the buffaloes, who turned against them with their 
sharp horns. An enormous cobra which had crept up 
the stem of a tall palm tree threw itself on to a little 
llama that was grazing at the foot. Knaps! it was all 
over with the little llama. 


'Shall we land here?' asked the dream-boy. 

'No,' said Little Lasse. 'I am so afraid that the 
buffaloes will butt us, and the great serpent eat us up. 
Let us travel to another part of the world.' 

'Very well,' said the dream-boy with the white coat, 
' it is only a little way to Polynesia ' - and then they 
were there. 

It was very warm there, as warm as in a hot bath in 
Finland. Costly spices grew on the shores: the pepper 
plant, the cinnamon tree, ginger, saffron; the coffee 
plant and the tea plant. Brown people with long ears 
and thick lips, and hideously painted faces, hunted a 
yellow-spotted tiger among the high bamboos on the 
shore, and the tiger turned on them and stuck its claws 
into one of the brown men. Then all the others took to 

' Shall we land here? ' asked the dream-boy. 

'No,' said Little Lasse. 'Don't you see the tiger 
away there by the pepper plant? Let us travel to another 
part of the world.' 

'We can do so,' said the dream-boy with the blue 
eyes. ' We are not far from Africa' - - and as he said 
that they were there. 

They anchored at the mouth of a great river where 
the shores were as green as the greenest velvet. A little 
distance from the river an immense desert stretched 
away. The air was yellow; the sun shone so hot, so 
hot as if it would burn the earth to ashes, and the people 
were as black as the blackest jet. They rode across 
the desert on tall camels; the lions roared with 
thirst, and the great crocodiles with their grey lizard 
heads and sharp white teeth gaped up out of the 

' Shall we land here? ' asked the dream-boy. 

'No,' said Little Lasse. 'The sun would burn us, 
and the lions and the crocodiles would eat us up. Let 
us travel to another part of the world.' 


'We can travel back to Europe,' said the dream-boy 
with the fair hair. And with that they were there. 

They came to a shore where it was all so cool and 
familiar and friendly. There stood the tall birch tree 
with its drooping leaves; at the top sat the old crow, and 
at its foot crept the gardener's black cat. Not far away 
was a house which Little Lasse had seen before; near 
the house there was a garden, and in the garden a pea 
bed with long pea shells. An old gardener with a green 
coat walked about and wondered if the cucumbers were 
ripe. Fylax was barking on the steps, and when he 
saw Little Lasse he wagged his tail. Old Stina was 
milking the cows in the farmyard, and there was a very 
familiar lady in a check woollen shawl on her way to the 
bleaching green to see if the clothes were bleached. 
There was, too, a well-known gentleman in a yellow 
summer coat, with a long pipe in his mouth; he was 
going to see if the reapers had cut the rye. A boy and 
a girl were running on the shore and calling out, 'Little 
Lasse! Come home for bread-and-butter!' 

'Shall we land here?' asked the dream-boy, and he 
blinked his blue eyes roguishly. 

'Come with me, and I shall ask mother to give you 
some bread-and-butter and a glass of milk,' said Little 

'Wait a little,' said the dream-boy. And now Little 
Lasse saw that the kitchen door was open, and from 
within there was heard a low, pleasant frizzling, like 
that which is heard when one whisks yellow batter with 
a wooden ladle into a hot frying-pan. 

'Perhaps we should sail back to Polynesia now?' 
said the dream-boy. 

'No; they are frying pancakes in Europe just now,' 
said Little Lasse; and he wanted to jump ashore, but 
he could not. The dream-boy had tied him with a 
chain of flowers, so that he could not move. And now 
all the little dreams came about him, thousands and 



thousands of little children, and they made a ring around 
him and sang a little song: 

The world is very, very wide, 

Little Lasse, Lasse, 

And though you've sailed beyond the tide, 
You can never tell how wide 
It is on the other side, 

Lasse, Little Lasse. 
You have found it cold and hot, 

Little Lasse, Lasse; 
But in no land is God not, 

Lasse, Little Lasse. 
Many men live there as here, 
But they all to God are dear, 

Little Lasse, Lasse. 
When His angel is your guide, 

Little Lasse, Lasse, 
Then no harm can e'er betide, 
Even on the other side 

Where the wild beasts wander. 
But tell us now, 

Whene'er you roam, 

Do you not find the best is home 
Of all the lands you've looked upon, 

Lasse, Little Lasse? 

When the dreams had sung their song they skipped 
away, and Nukku Matti carried Lasse back to the boat. 
He lay there for a long time quite still, and he still heard 
the frying-pan frizzling at home on the fire, the frizzling 
was very plain, Little Lasse heard it quite near him; 
and so he woke up and rubbed his eyes. 

There he lay in the boat, where he had fallen asleep. 
The wind had turned, and the boat had drifted out with 
one wind and drifted in with another while Little Lasse 
slept, and what Lasse thought was frizzling in a frying- 
pan was the low murmur of the waves as they washed 
against the stones on the shore. But he was not 
altogether wrong, for the clear blue sea is like a great 
pan in which God's sun all day makes cakes for good 


Little Lasse rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and 
looked around him. Everything was the same as before; 
the crow in the birch tree, the cat on the grass, and 
the pea-shell fleet on the shore. Some of the ships 
had foundered, and some had drifted back to land. 
Hercules had come back with its cargo from Asia, The 
Flea had arrived from Polynesia, and the other parts of 
the world were just where they were before. 

Little Lasse did not know what to think. He had 
so often been in that grotto in the 'Land of Nod' and 
did not know what tricks dreams can play. But Little 
Lasse did not trouble his head with such things; he 
gathered together his boats and walked up the shore 
back to the house. 

His brother and sister ran to meet him, and called 
out from the distance, 'Where have you been so long, 
Lasse? Come home and get some bread-and-butter.' 
The kitchen door stood open, and inside was heard a 
strange frizzling. 

The gardener was near the gate, watering the dill 
and parsley, the carrots and parsnips. 

'Well,' he said, 'where has Little Lasse been so 
long? ' 

Little Lasse straightened himself up stiff, and 
answered: 'I have sailed round the world in a pea-shell 

'Oh!' said the gardener. 

He had forgotten Dreamland. But you have not 
forgotten it; you know that it exists. You know the 
beautiful grotto and the bright silver walls whose lustre 
never fades, the sparkling diamonds which never grow 
dim, the music which never ceases its low, soft murmur 
through the sweet evening twilight. The airy fairy 
fancies of happy Dreamland never grow old; they, like 
the glorious stars above us, are always young. Perhaps 
you have caught a glimpse of their ethereal wings as 
they flew around your pillow. Perhaps you have met 


the same dream-boy with the blue eyes and the fair 
hair, the one who wore the red cap with the silver band 
and the white coat with pearls on the collar. Perhaps 
he has taken you to see all the countries of the world 
and the peoples, the cold waste lands and the burning 
deserts, the many coloured men and the wild creatures 
in the sea and in the woods, so that you may learn many 
things, but come gladly home again. Yes, who knows? 
Perhaps you also have sailed round the wide world once 
in a pea-shell boat. 

From Z. Topelius. 

'MOTI ' 

ONCE upon a time there was a youth called Moti, who 
was very big and strong, but the clumsiest creature you 
can imagine. So clumsy was he that he was always 
putting his great feet into the bowls of sweet milk or 
curds which his mother set out on the floor to cool, always 
smashing, upsetting, breaking, until at last his father 
said to him: 

' Here, Moti, are fifty silver pieces which are the savings 
of years; take them and go and make your living or 
your fortune if you can.' 

Then Moti started off one early spring morning with 
his thick staff over his shoulder singing gaily to himself 
as he walked along. 

In one way and another he got along very well until 
a hot evening when he came to a certain city where he 
entered the tavellers' 'serai' or inn to pass the night. 
Now a serai, you must know, is generally just a large 
square enclosed by a high wall with an open colonnade 
along the inside all round to accommodate both men and 
beasts, and with perhaps a few rooms in towers at the 
corners for those who are too rich or too proud to care 
about sleeping by their own camels and horses. Moti, 
of course, was a country lad and had lived with cattle 
all his life, and he wasn't rich and he wasn't proud, so 
he just borrowed a bed from the innkeeper, set it down 
beside an old buffalo who reminded him of home, and 
in five minutes was fast asleep. 

In the middle of the night he woke, feeling that he 

142 'A/Or/' 

had been disturbed, and putting his hand under his 
pillow found to his horror that his bag of money had been 
stolen. He jumped up quietly and began to prowl 
around to see whether anyone seemed to be awake, 
but, though he managed to arouse a few men and beasts 
by falling over them, he walked in the shadow of the 
archways round the whole serai without coming across 
a likely thief. He was just about to give it up when 
he overhead two men v^hispering, and one laughed softly, 
and, peering behind a pillar, he saw two Afghan horse- 
dealers counting out his bag of money! Then Moti 
went back to bed! 

In the morning Moti followed the two Afghans outside 
the city to the horsemarket in which their horses were 
offered for sale. Choosing the best-looking horse amongst 
them he went up to it and said : 

'Is this horse for sale? may I try it?' and, the mer- 
chants assenting, he scrambled up on its back, dug in 
his heels, and off they flew. Now Moti had never been 
on a horse in his life, and had so much ado to hold on 
with both hands as well as with both legs that the animal 
went just where it liked, and very soon broke into a 
break-neck gallop and made straight back to the serai 
where it had spent the last few nights. 

'This will do very well,' thought Moti as they whirled 
in at the entrance. As soon as the horse had arrived 
at its stable it stopped of its own accord and Moti 
immediately rolled off; but he jumped up at once, tied 
the beast up, and called for some breakfast. Presently 
the Afghans appeared, out of breath and furious, and 
claimed the horse. 

' What do you mean? ' cried Moti, with his mouth 
full of rice, 'it's my horse; I paid you fifty pieces of 
silver for it -- quite a bargain, I'm sure! ' 

' Nonsense ! it is our horse,' answered one of the Afghans, 
beginning to untie the bridle. 

'Leave off,' shouted Moti, seizing his staff; 'if you 

'MOW us 

don't let my horse alone I'll crack your skulls! you 
thieves! / know you! Last night you took my money, 
so to-day I took your horse; that's fair enough! ' 

Now the Afghans began to look a little uncomfortable, 
but Moti seemed so determined to keep the horse that 
they resolved to appeal to the law, so they went off, 
and laid a complaint before the king that Moti had 
stolen one of their horses and would not give it up nor 
pay for it. 

Presently a soldier came to summon Moti to the king; 
and, when he arrived and made his obeisance, the king 
began to question him as to why he had galloped off 
with the horse in this fashion. But Moti declared that 
he had got the animal in exchange for fifty pieces of 
silver, whilst the horse merchants vowed that the money 
they had on them w T as what they had received for the 
sale of other horses; and in one way and another the 
dispute got so confusing that the king (who really thought 
that Moti had stolen the horse) said at last, 'Well, I 
tell you what I will do. I will lock something into this 
box before me, and if he guesses what it is, the horse is 
his, and if he doesn't, then it is yours.' 

To this Moti agreed, and the king arose and went 
out alone by a little door at the back of the Court, and 
presently came back clasping something closely wrapped 
up in a cloth under his robe, slipped it into the little box, 
locked the box, and set it up where all might see. 

'Now,' said the king to Moti, 'guess! ' 

It happened that when the king had opened the door 
behind him, Moti noticed that there was a garden out- 
side: without waiting for the king's return he began to 
think what could be got out of the garden small enough 
to be shut in the box. 'Is it likely to be a fruit or a 
flower? No, not a flower this time, for he clasped it 
too tight. Then it must be a fruit or a stone. Yet 
not a stone, because he wouldn't wrap a dirty stone 
in his nice clean cloth. Then it is a fruit! And a fruit 


without much scent, or else he would be afraid that I 
might smell it. Now what fruit without much scent 
is in season just now? When I know that I shall have 
guessed the riddle!' 

As has been said before, Moti was a country lad, and 
was accustomed to work in his father's garden. He knew 
all the common fruits, so he thought he ought to be able 
to guess right, but so as not to let it seem too easy, he 
gazed up at the ceiling with a puzzled expression, and 
looked down at the floor with an air of wisdom and his 
fingers pressed against his forehead, and then he said, 
slowly, with his eyes on the king, - 

'It is freshly plucked! it is round and it is red! it is 
a pomegranate!' 

Now the king knew nothing about fruits except that 
they were good to eat; and, as for seasons, he asked 
for whatever fruit he wanted whenever he wanted it, 
and saw that he got it; so to him Mod's guess was like 
a miracle, and clear proof not only of his wisdom but of 
his innocence, for it was a pomegranate that he had put 
into the box. Of course when the king marvelled and 
praised Moti's wisdom, everybody else did so too; and, 
whilst the Afghans went off crestfallen, Moti took the 
horse and entered the king's service. 

Very soon after this, Moti, who continued to live in the 
serai, came back one wet and stormy evening to find that 
his precious horse had strayed. Nothing remained of 
him but a broken halter cord, and no one knew what 
had become of him. After inquiring of everyone who 
was likely to know, Moti seized the cord and his big staff 
and sallied out to look for him. Away and away he 
tramped out of the city and into the neighbouring 
forest, tracking hoof-marks in the mud. Presently it 
grew late, but still Moti wandered on until suddenly in 
the gathering darkness he came right upon a tiger who 
was contentedly eating his horse. 

'You thief!' shrieked Moti, and ran up, and, just 

'MOTI' 14.5 

as the tiger, in astonishment, dropped a bone --whack! 
came Moti's staff on his head with such good will that 
the beast was half stunned and could hardly breathe 
or see. Then Moti continued to shower upon him blows 
and abuse until the poor tiger could hardly stand, 
whereupon his tormentor tied the end of the broken 
halter round his neck and dragged him back to the 

'If you had my horse,' he said, 'I will at least have 
you, that's fair enough!' And he tied him up securely 
by the head and heels, much as he used to tie the horse; 
then, the night being far gone, he flung himself beside 
him and slept soundly. 

You cannot imagine anything like the fright of the 
people in the serai, when they woke up and found a 
tiger -- very battered but still a tiger securely tethered 
amongst themselves and their beasts! Men gathered 
in groups talking and exclaiming, and finding fault with 
the innkeeper for allowing such a dangerous beast into 
the serai, and all the while the innkeeper was just as 
troubled as the rest, and none dared go near the place 
where the tiger stood blinking miserably on everyone, 
and where Moti lay stretched out snoring like thunder. 

At last news reached the king that Moti had exchanged 
his horse for a live tiger; and the monarch himself came 
down, half disbelieving the tale, to see if it were really 
true. Someone at last awaked Moti with the news 
that his royal master was come; and he arose yawning, 
and was soon delightedly explaining and showing off 
his new possession. The king, however, did not share 
his pleasure at all, but called up a soldier to shoot the 
tiger, much to the relief of all the inmates of the serai 
except Moti. If the king, however, was before convinced 
that Moti was one of the wisest of men, he was now 
still more convinced that he was the bravest, and he 
increased his pay a hundredfold, so that our hero 
thought that he was the luckiest of men. 




A week or two after this incident the king sent for 
Mod, who on arrival found his master in despair. A 

neighbouring monarch, he explained, who had many 
more soldiers than he, had declared war against him, 
and he was at his wits' end, for he had neither money to 

buy him off nor soldiers enough to fight him - - what was 
he to do? 

'If that is all, don't you trouble,' said Moti. 'Turn 
out your men, and I'll go with them, and we'll soon 
bring this robber to reason.' 

The king began to revive at these hopeful words, and 
took Moti off to his stable where he bade him choose for 
himself any horse he liked. There were plenty of fine 
horses in the stalls, but to the king's astonishment Moti 
chose a poor little rat of a pony that was used to carry 
grass and water for the rest of the stable. 

'But why do you choose that beast?' said the 

'Well, you see, your majesty,' replied Moti, 'there 
are so many chances that I may fall off, and if I choose 
one of your fine big horses I shall have so far to fall that 
I shall probably break my leg or my arm, if not my 
neck, but if I fall off this little beast I can't hurt myself 

A very comical sight was Moti when he rode out to 
the war. The only weapon he carried was his staff, 
and to help him to keep his balance on horseback he had 
tied to each of his ankles a big stone that nearly touched 
the ground as he sat astride the little pony. The rest of 
the king's cavalry were not very numerous, but they 
pranced along in armour on fine horses. Behind them 
came a great rabble of men on foot armed with all sorts 
of weapons, and last of all was the king with his attend- 
ants, very nervous and ill at ease. So the army started. 

They had not very far to go, but Moti's little pony, 
weighted with a heavy man and two big rocks, soon 
began to lag behind the cavalry, and would have lagged 
behind the infantry too, only they were not very anxious 
to be too early in the fight, and hung back so as to give 
Moti plenty of time. The young man jogged along 
more and more slowly for some time, until at last, getting 
impatient at the slowness of the pony, he gave him 

148 'A/Or/' 

such a tremendous thwack with his staff that the pony 
completely lost his temper and bolted. First one stone 
became untied and rolled away in a cloud of dust to 
one side of the road, whilst Moti nearly rolled off too, 
but clasped his steed valiantly by its ragged mane, and, 
dropping his staff, held on for dear life. Then fortu- 
nately the other rock broke away from his other leg 
and rolled thunderously down a neighbouring ravine. 
Meanwhile the advanced cavalry had barely time to 
draw to one side when Moti came dashing by, yelling 
bloodthirsty threats to his pony: 

'You wait till I get hold of you! I'll skin you alive! 
I'll wring your neck! I'll break every bone in your 
body!' The cavalry thought that this dreadful lan- 
guage was meant for the enemy, and were filled with 
admiration of his courage. Many of their horses too were 
quite upset by this whirlwind that galloped howling 
through their midst, and in a few minutes, after a little 
plunging and rearing and kicking, the whole troop were 
following on Moti's heels. 

Far in advance, Moti continued his wild career. 
Presently in his course he came to a great field of castor- 
oil plants, ten or twelve feet high, big and bushy, but 
quite green and soft. Hoping to escape from the back 
of his fiery steed Moti grasped one in passing, but its 
roots gave way, and he dashed on, with the whole plant 
looking like a young tree nourishing in his grip. 

The enemy were in battle array, advancing over the 
plain, their king with them confident and cheerful, when 
suddenly from the front came a desperate rider at a 
furious gallop. 

'Sire!' he cried, 'save yourself! the enemy are 
coming! ' 

'What do you mean? ' said the king. 
'Oh, sire!' panted the messenger, 'fly at once, there 
is no time to lose. Foremost of the enemy rides a mad 
giant at a furious gallop. He flourishes a tree for a club 

'MOTI' 149 

and is wild with anger, for as he goes he cries, "You 
wait till I get hold of you! I'll skin you alive! I'll wring 
your neck! I'll break every bone in your body!" Others 
ride behind, and you will do well to retire before this 
whirlwind of destruction comes upon you.' 

Just then out of a cloud of dust in the distance the 
king saw Moti approaching at a hard gallop, looking 
indeed like a giant compared with the little beast he rode, 
whirling his castor-oil plant, which in the distance might 
have been an oak tree, and the sound of his revilings and 
shoutings came down upon the breeze! Behind him 
the dust cloud moved to the sound of the thunder of 
hoofs, whilst here and there flashed the glitter of steel. 
The sight and the sound struck terror into the king, 
and, turning his horse, he fled at top speed, thinking that 
a regiment of yelling giants was upon him; and all his 
force followed him as fast as they might go. One fat 
officer alone could not keep up on foot with that mad 
rush, and as Moti came galloping up he flung himself on 
the ground in abject fear. This was too much for Moti's 
excited pony, who shied so suddenly that Moti went 
flying over his head like a sky rocket, and alighted right 
on the top of his fat foe. 

Quickly regaining his feet Moti began to swing his 
plant round his head and to shout : 

'Where are your men? Bring them up and I'll 
kill them. My regiments! Come on, the whole lot of 
you! Where's your king? Bring him to me. Here 
are all my fine fellows coming up and we'll each pull 
up a tree by the roots and lay you all flat and your houses 
and towns and everything else ! Come on ! ' 

But the poor fat officer could do nothing but squat 
on his knees with his hands together, gasping. At last, 
when he got his breath, Moti sent him off to bring his 
king, and to tell him that if he was reasonable his life 
should be spared. Off the poor man went, and by the 
time the troops of Moti's side had come up and arranged 

themselves to look as formidable as possible, he returned 
with his king. The latter was very humble and apologetic, 
and promised never to make war any more, to pay a 
large sum of money, and altogether do whatever his 
conqueror wished. 

So the armies on both sides went rejoicing home, 
and this was really the making of the fortune of clumsy 
Moti, who lived long and contrived always to be looked 
up to as a fountain of wisdom, valour, and discretion by 
all except his relations, who could never understand 
what he had done to be considered so much wiser than 
anyone else. 

A Pushto Story. 


A YOUNG man was out walking one day in Erin, leading 
a stout cart-horse by the bridle. He was thinking of his 
mother and how poor they were since his father, who 
was a fisherman, had been drowned at sea, and wondering 
what he should do to earn a living for both of them. 
Suddenly a hand was laid on his shoulder, and a voice 
said to him : 

'Will you sell me your horse, son of the fisherman?' 
and looking up he beheld a man standing in the road 
with a gun in his hand, a falcon on his shoulder, and a 
dog by his side. 

'What will you give me for my horse?' asked the 
youth. 'Will you give me your gun, and your dog, and 
your falcon? ' 

'I will give them,' answered the man, and he took 
the horse, and the youth took the gun and the dog and 
the falcon, and went home with them. But when his 
mother heard what he had done she was very angry, 
and beat him with a stick which she had in her hand. 

'That will teach you to sell my property,' said she, 
when her arm was quite tired, but Ian her son answered 
her nothing, and went off to his bed, for he was very sore. 

That night he rose softly, and left the house carrying 
the gun with him. 'I will not stay here to be beaten,' 
thought he, and he walked and he walked and he walked, 
till it was day again, and he was hungry and looked about 
him to see if he could get anything to eat. Not very far 
off was a farm-house, so he went there, and knocked at 



the door, and the farmer and his wife begged him to 
come in, and share their breakfast. 

'Ah, you have a gun,' said the farmer as the young 



man placed it in a corner. 'That is well, for a deer comes 
every evening to eat my corn, and I cannot catch it. It 
is fortune that has sent you to me.' 


'I will gladly remain and shoot the deer for you,' 
replied the youth, and that night he hid himself and 
watched till the deer came to the cornfield; then he 
lifted his gun to his shoulder and was just going to pull 
the trigger, when, behold! instead of a deer, a woman 
with long black hair was standing there. At this sight 
his gun almost dropped from his hand in surprise, but 
as he looked, there was the deer eating the corn again. 
And thrice this happened, till the deer ran away over the 
moor, and the young man after her. 

On they went, on and on and on, till they reached a 
cottage which was thatched with heather. With a bound 
the deer sprang on the roof, and lay down where none 
could see her, but as she did so she called out, 'Go in, 
fisher's son, and eat and drink while you may.' So he 
entered and found food and wine on the table, but no 
man, for the house belonged to some robbers, who were 
still away at their wicked business. 

After Ian, the fisher's son, had eaten all he wanted, 
he hid himself behind a great cask, and very soon he 
heard a noise, as of men coming through the heather, 
and the small twigs snapping under their feet. From 
his dark corner he could see into the room, and he 
counted four and twenty of them, all big, cross-looking 

'Someone has been eating our dinner,' cried they, 
'and there was hardly enough for ourselves.' 

'It is the man who is lying under the cask,' answered 
the leader. 'Go and kill him, and then come and eat 
your food and sleep, for we must be off betimes in the 

So four of them killed the fisher's son and left him, 
and then went to bed. 

By sunrise they were all out of the house, for they 
had far to go. And when they had disappeared the deer 
came off the roof, to where the dead man lay, and she 


shook her head over him, and wax fell from her ear, and 
he jumped up as well as ever. 

' Trust me and eat as you did before, and no ' harm 
shall happen to you,' said she. So Ian ate and drank, and 
fell sound asleep under the cask. In the evening the 
robbers arrived very tired, and crosser than they had 
been yesterday, for their luck had turned and they 
had brought back scarcely anything. 

'Someone has eaten our dinner again,' cried they. 

'It is the man under the barrel,' answered the captain. 
'Let four of you go and kill him, but first slay the other 
four who pretended to kill him last night and didn't, 
because he is still alive.' 

Then Ian was killed a second time, and after the rest 
of the robbers had eaten, they lay down and slept till 

No sooner were their faces touched with the sun's 
rays than they were up and off. Then the deer entered 
and dropped the healing wax on the dead man, and 
he was as well as ever. By this time he did not mind 
what befell him, so sure was he that the deer would 
take care of him, and in the evening that which 
had happened before happened again - - the four rob- 
bers w r ere put to death and the fisher's son also, but 
because there was no food left for them to eat, 
they were nearly mad with rage, and began to quarrel. 
From quarrelling they went on to fighting, and fought 
so hard that by and bye they were all stretched dead 
on the floor. 

Then the deer entered, and the fisher's son was restored 
to life, and bidding him follow her, she ran on to a 
little white cottage where dwelt an old woman and 
her son, who was thin and dark. 

'Here I must leave you,' said the deer, 'but to- 
morrow meet me at midday in the church that is yonder. 
And jumping across the stream, she vanished into a 



Next day he set out for the church, but the old woman 
of the cottage had gone before him, and had stuck an 
enchanted stick called 'the spike of hurt' in a crack 

'he conybed his n&vTv>itK 

cohib but ms eyes of>er\e.a. 


of the door, so that he would brush against it as he 
stepped across the threshold. Suddenly he felt so 
sleepy that he could not stand up, and throwing himself 
on the ground he sank into a deep slumber, not knowing 
that the dark lad was watching him. Nothing could 
waken him, not even the sound of sweetest music, nor 
the touch of a lady who bent over him. A sad look came 
on her face, as she saw it was no use, and at last she gave 
it up, and lifting his arm, wrote her name across his 
side - ' the daughter of the king of the town under the 

'I will come to-morrow,' she whispered, though he 
could not hear her, and she went sorrowfully away. 

Then he awoke, and the dark lad told him what had 
befallen him, and he was very grieved. But the dark 
lad did not tell him of the name that was written 
underneath his arm. 

On the following morning the fisher's son again went 
to the church, determined that he would not go to 
sleep, whatever happened. But in his hurry to enter 
he touched with his hand the spike of hurt, and sank 
down where he stood, wrapped in slumber. A second 
time the air was filled with music, and the lady came in, 
stepping softly, but though she laid his head on her 
knee, and combed his hair with a golden comb, his eyes 
opened not. Then she burst into tears, and placing 
a beautifully wrought box in his pocket she went her 

The next day the same thing befell the fisher's son, 
and this time the lady wept more bitterly than before, for 
she said it was the last chance, and she would never be 
allowed to come any more, for home she must go. 

As soon as the lady had departed the fisher's son 
awoke, and the dark lad told him of her visit, and how 
he would never see her as long as he lived. At this 
the fisher's son felt the cold creeping up to his heart, 


yet he knew the fault had not been his that sleep had 
overtaken him. 

'I will search the whole world through till I find her,' 
cried he, and the dark lad laughed as he heard him. 
But the fisher's son took no heed, and off he went, follow- 
ing the sun day after day, till his shoes were in holes 
and his feet were sore from the journey. Nought did 
he see but the birds that made their nests in the trees, 
not so much as a goat or a rabbit. On and on and on he 
went, till suddenly he came upon a little house, with a 
woman standing outside it. 

'All hail, fisher's son!' said she. 'I know what you 
are seeking; enter in and rest and eat, and to-morrow 
I will give you what help I can, and send you on 
your way.' 

Gladly did Ian the fisher's son accept her offer, and 
all that day he rested, and the woman gave him ointment 
to put on his feet, which healed his sores. At day- 
break he got up, ready to be gone, and the woman bade 
him farewell, saying: 

'I have a sister who dwells on the road which you 
must travel. It is a long road, and it would take you a 
year and a day to reach it, but put on these old brown 
shoes with holes all over them, and you will be there 
before you know it. Then shake them off, and turn 
their toes to the known, and their heels to the unknown, 
and they will come home of themselves.' 

The fisher's son did as the woman told him, and every- 
thing happened just as she had said. But at parting 
the second sister said to him, as she gave him another 
pair of shoes: 

'Go to my third sister, for she has a son who is keeper 
of the birds of the air, and sends them to sleep when 
night comes. He is very wise, and perhaps he can help 

Then the young man thanked her, and went to the 
third sister. 


The third sister was very kind, but had no counsel 
to give him, so he ate and drank and waited till her son 
came home, after he had sent all the birds to sleep. He 
thought a long while after his mother had told him the 
young man's story, and at last he said that he was hungry, 
and the cow must be killed, as he wanted some supper. 
So the cow was killed and the meat cooked, and a bag 
made of its red skin. 

'Now get into the bag,' bade the son, and the young 
man got in and took his gun with him, but the dog and 
the falcon he left outside. The keeper of the birds drew 
the string at the top of the bag, and left it to finish his 
supper, when in flew an eagle through the open door, 
and picked the bag up in her claws and carried it through 
the air to an island. There was nothing to eat on the 
island, and the fisher's son thought he would die for lack 
of food, when he remembered the box that the lady 
had put in his pocket. He opened the lid, and three 
tiny little birds flew out, and flapping their wings they 

' Good master, is there anything we can do for thee? ' 

'Bear me to the kingdom of the king under the waves,' 
he answered, and one little bird flew on to his head, 
and the others perched on each of his shoulders, and 
he shut his eyes, and in a moment there he was in the 
country under the sea. Then the birds flew away, 
and the young man looked about him, his heart beating 
fast at the thought that here dwelt the lady whom he 
had sought all the world over. 

He walked on through the streets, and presently he 
reached the house of a weaver who was standing at his 
door, resting from his work. 

'You are a stranger here, that is plain,' said the weaver, 
'but come in, and I will give you food and drink.' And 
the young man was glad, for he knew not where to go, 
and they sat and talked till it grew late. 

'Stay with me, I pray, for I love company and am 


lonely,' observed the weaver at last, and he pointed to a 
bed in a corner, where the fisher's son threw himself, and 
slept till dawn. 

'There is to be a horse-race in the town to-day,' 
remarked the weaver, 'and the winner is to have the 
king's daughter to wife.' The young man trembled 
with excitement at the news, and his voice shook as 
he answered: 

'That will be a prize indeed, I should like to see the 

'Oh, that is quite easy --anyone can go,' replied the 
weaver. ' I would take you myself, but I have promised 
to weave this cloth for the king.' 

'That is a pity,' returned the young man politely, 
but in his heart he rejoiced, for he wished to be alone. 

Leaving the house, he entered a grove of trees which 
stood behind, and took the box from his pocket. He 
raised the lid, and out flew the three little birds. 

'Good master, what shall we do for thee?' asked 
they, and he answered, 'Bring me the finest horse 
that ever was seen, and the grandest dress, and glass 

'They are here, master,' said the birds, and so they 
were, and never had the young man seen anything so 

Mounting the horse he rode into the ground where 
the horses were assembling for the great race, and took 
his place among them. Many good beasts were there 
which had won many races, but the horse of the fisher's 
son left them all behind, and he was first at the winning 
post. The king's daughter waited for him in vain to 
claim his prize, for he went back to the wood, and got 
off his horse, and put on his old clothes, and bade the 
box place some gold in his pockets. After that he went 
back to the weaver's house, and told him that the gold 
had been given him by the man who had won the race, 


and that the weaver might have it for his kindness to 

Now as nobody had appeared to demand the hand 
of the princess, the king ordered another race to be run, 
and the fisher's son rode into the field, still more splen- 
didly dressed than he was before, and easily distanced 
everybody else. But again he left the prize unclaimed, 
and so it happened on the third day, when it seemed as 
if all the people in the kingdom were gathered to see the 
race, for they were filled with curiosity to know who 
the winner could be. 

'If he will not come of his own free will, he must be 
brought,' said the king, and messengers who had seen 
the face of the victor were sent to seek him in every 
street of the town. This took many days, and when at 
last they found the young man in the weaver's cottage, 
he was so dirty and ugly and had such a strange appear- 
ance, that they declared he could not be the winner they 
had been searching for, but a wicked robber who had 
murdered ever so many people, but had always managed 
to escape. 

'Yes, it must be the robber,' said the king, when the 
fisher's son was led into his presence; 'build a gallows at 
once and hang him in the sight of all my subjects, that 
they may behold him suffer the punishment of his 

So the gallows was built upon a high platform, and 
the fisher's son mounted the steps up to it, and turned at 
the top to make the speech that was expected from every 
doomed man, innocent or guilty. As he spoke he hap- 
pened to raise his arm, and the king's daughter, who 
was there at her father's side, saw the name which she 
had written under it. With a shriek she sprang from her 
seat, and the eyes of the spectators were turned towards 

'Stop! stop!' she cried, hardly knowing what she 
said. 'If that man is hanged there is not a soul in the 


kingdom but shall die also.' And running up to where 
the fisher's son was standing, she took him by the hand, 

'Father, this is no robber or murderer, but the victor 
in the three races, and he loosed the spells that were 
laid upon me.' 

Then, without waiting for a reply, she conducted him 
into the palace, and he bathed in a marble bath, and all 
the dirt that the fairies had put upon him disappeared 
like magic, and when he had dressed himself in the fine 
garments the princess had sent to him, he looked a match 
for any king's daughter in Erin. He went down into 
the great hall where she was awaiting him, and they had 
much to tell each other but little time to tell it in, for 
the king, her father, and the princes who were visiting 
him, and all the people of the kingdom were still in their 
places expecting her return. 

'How did you find me out?' she whispered as they 
went down the passage. 

'The birds in the box told me,' answered he, but he 
could say no more, as they stepped out into the open 
space that was crowded with people. There the princess 

'O kings!' she said, turning towards them, 'if one of 
you were killed to-day, the rest would fly; but this man 
put his trust in me, and had his head cut off three times. 
Because he has done this, I will marry him rather than 
one of you, who have come hither to wed me, for many 
kings here sought to free me from the spells, but none 
could do it save Ian the fisher's son.' 

From 'Popular Tales of the West Highlands.' 



PERHAPS you think that fishes were always fishes, and 
never lived anywhere except in the water, but if you went 
to Australia and talked to the black people in the sandy 
desert in the centre of the country you would learn 
something quite different. They would tell you that 
long, long ago you would have met fishes on the land, 
wandering from place to place, and hunting all sorts 
of animals, and if you consider how fishes are made, you 
will understand how difficult this must have been and 
how clever they were to do it. Indeed, so clever were 
they that they might have been hunting still if a terrible 
thing had not happened. 

One day the whole fish tribe came back very tired 
from a hunting expedition, and looked about for a nice 
cool spot in which to pitch their camp. It was very 
hot, and they thought that they could not find a more 
comfortable place than under the branches of a large 
tree which grew by the bank of a river. So they made 
their fire to cook some food, right on the edge of a steep 
bank, which had a deep pool of water lying beneath it 
at the bottom. While the food was cooking they all 
stretched themselves lazily out under the tree, and were 
just dropping off to sleep when a big black cloud which 
they had never noticed spread over the sun, and heavy 
drops of rain began to fall, so that the fire was almost 
put out, and that, you know, is a very serious thing in 
savage countries where they have no matches, for it is 
very hard to light it again. To make matters worse, 
an icy wind began to blow, and the poor fishes were 
chilled right through their bodies. 



'This will never do,' said Thuggai, the oldest of all 
the fish tribe. 'We shall die of cold unless we can light 
the fire again,' and he bade his sons rub two sticks 
together in the hope of kindling a flame, but though 
they rubbed till they were tired, not a spark could they 

'Let me try,' cried Biernuga, the bony fish, but he 

had no better luck, and no more had Kumbal, the bream, 
nor any of the rest. 

'It is no use,' exclaimed Thuggai, at last. 'The 
wood is too wet. We must just sit and wait till the sun 
comes out again and dries it.' Then a very little fish 
indeed, not more than four inches long and the youngest 
of the tribe, bowed himself before Thuggai, saying, 


'Ask my father, Guddhu the cod, to light the fire. He 
is skilled in magic more than most fishes.' So Thuggai 
asked him, and Guddhu stripped some pieces of bark 
off a tree, and placed them on top of the smouldering 
ashes. Then he knelt by the side of the fire and blew 
at it for a long while, till slowly the feeble red glow became 
a little stronger and the edges of the bark showed signs 
of curling up. When the rest of the tribe saw this they 
pressed close, keeping their backs towards the piercing 
,wind, but Guddhu told them they must go to the other 
side, as he wanted the wind to fan his fire. By and bye 
the spark grew into a flame, and a merry crackling was 

'More wood,' cried Guddhu, and they all ran and 
gathered wood and heaped it on the flames, which leaped 
and roared and sputtered. 

'We shall soon be warm now,' said the people one 
to another. 'Truly Guddhu is great'; and they crowded 
round again, closer and closer. Suddenly, with a shriek, 
a blast of wind swept down from the hills and blew the 
fire out towards them. They sprang back hurriedly, 
quite forgetting where they stood, and all fell down the 
bank, each tumbling over the other, till they rolled into 
the pool that lay below. Oh, how cold it was in that 
dark water on which the sun never shone! Then in 
an instant they felt warm again, for the fire, driven by 
the strong wind, had followed them right down to the 
bottom of the pool, where it burned as brightly as ever. 
And the fishes gathered round it as they had done on 
the top of the cliff, and found the flames as hot as before, 
and that fire never went out, like those upon land, but 
kept burning for ever. So now you know why, if you 
dive deep down below the cold surface of the water 
on a frosty day, you will find it comfortable and pleasant 
underneath, and be quite sorry that you cannot stay 

Australian 'Folk' Tale. 


MAURICE CONNOR was the king, and that's no small 
word, of all the pipers in Munster. He could play jig 
and reel without end, and Ollistrum's March, and the 
Eagle's Whistle, and the Hen's Concert, and odd tunes 
of every sort and kind. But he knew one far more sur- 
prising than the rest, which had in it the power to set 
everything dead or alive dancing. 

In what way he learned it is beyond my knowledge, 
for he was mighty cautious about telling how he came by 
so wonderful a tune. At the very first note of that 
tune the shoes began shaking upon the feet of all who 
heard it old or young, it mattered not --just as if 
the shoes had the ague ; then the feet began going, 
going, going from under them, and at last up and away 
with them, dancing like mad, whisking here, there, and 
everywhere, like a straw in a storm - - there was no 
halting while the music lasted. 

Not a fair, nor a wedding, nor a feast in the seven 
parishes round, was counted worth the speaking of 
without 'blind Maurice and his pipes.' His mother, 
poor woman, used to lead him about from one place to 
another just like a dog. 

Down through Iveragh, Maurice Connor and his 
mother were taking their rounds. Beyond all other 
places Iveragh is the place for stormy coasts and steep 
mountains, as proper a spot it is as any in Ireland to 
get yourself drowned, or your neck broken on the land, 


should you prefer that. But, notwithstanding, in Ballin- 
skellig Bay there is a neat bit of ground, well fitted for 
diversion, and down from it, towards the water, is a 
clean smooth piece of strand, the dead image of a calm 
summer's sea on a moonlight night, with just the curl 
of the small waves upon it. 

Here it was that Maurice's music had brought from 
all parts a great gathering of the young men and the 
young women; for 'twas not every day the strand of 
Trafraska was stirred up by the voice of a bagpipe. 
The dance began; and as pretty a dance it was as ever 
was danced. 'Brave music,' said everybody, 'and well 
done,' when Maurice stopped. 

'More power to your elbow, Maurice, and a fair wind 
in the bellows,' cried Paddy Dorman, a humpbacked 
dancing master, who was there to keep, order. ' 'Tis 
a pity,' said he, 'if we'd let the piper run dry after such 
music; 'twould be a disgrace to Iveragh, that didn't 
come on it since the week of the three Sundays.' So, 
as well became him, for he was always a decent man, says 
he, 'Did you drink, piper? ' 

'I will, sir,' said Maurice, answering the question 
on the safe side, for you never yet knew piper or school- 
master who refused his drink. 

'What will you drink, Maurice?' says Paddy. 

'I'm no ways particular,' says Maurice; 'I drink 
anything barring raw water; but if it's all the same to 
you, Mister Dorman, may-be you wouldn't lend me the 
loan of a glass of whisky.' 

'I've no glass, Maurice,' said Paddy; 'I've only the 

'Let that be no hindrance,' answered Maurice; 'my 
mouth just holds a glass to the drop; often I've tried 
it sure.' 

So Paddy Dorman trusted him with the bottle -- more 
fool was he; and, to his cost, he found that though 
Maurice's mouth might not hold more than the glass 


at one time, yet, owing to the hole in his throat, it took 
many a filling. 

'That was no bad whisky neither,' says Maurice, 
handing back the empty bottle. 

'By the holy frost, then!' says Paddy, "tis but cold 
comfort there's in that bottle now; and 'tis your word 
we must take for the strength of the whisky, for you've 
left us no sample to judge by'; and to be sure Maurice 
had not. 

Now I need not tell any gentleman or lady that if he 
or she was to drink an honest bottle of whisky at one 
pull, it is not at all the same thing as drinking a bottle 
of water; and in the whole course of my life I never 
knew more than five men who could do so without being 
the worse. Of these Maurice Connor was not one, though 
he had a stiff head enough of his own. Don't think I 
blame him for it; but true is the word that says, 'When 
liquor's in sense is out'; and puff, at a breath, out he 
blasted his wonderful tune. 

'Twas really then beyond all belief or telling the 
dancing. Maurice himself could not keep quiet; stag- 
gering now on one leg, now on the other, and rolling 
about like a ship in a cross sea, trying to humour the 
tune. There was his mother, too, moving her old bones 
as light as the youngest girl of them all ; but her dancing, 
no, nor the dancing of all the rest, is not worthy the 
speaking about to the work that was going on down 
upon the strand. Every inch of it covered with all 
manner of fish jumping and plunging about to the music, 
and every moment more and more would tumble in out 
of the water, charmed by the wonderful tune. Crabs 
of monstrous size spun round and round on one claw with 
the nimbleness of a dancing master, and twirled and 
tossed their other claws about like limbs that did not 
belong to them. It was a sight surprising to behold. 
But perhaps you may have heard of Father Florence 
Conry, as pleasant a man as one would wish to drink with 


of a hot summer's day; and he had rhymed out all about 
the dancing fishes so neatly that it would be a thousand 
pities not to give you his verses; so here they are in 

The big seals in motion, 
Like waves of the ocean, 

Or gouty feet prancing, 
Came heading the gay fish, 
Crabs, lobsters, and cray-fish, 

Determined on dancing. 

The sweet sounds they followed, 
The gasping cod swallow'd - 

'Twas wonderful, really; 
And turbot and flounder, 
'Mid fish that were rounder, 

Just caper'd as gaily. 

John-dories came tripping; 
Dull hake, by their skipping, 

To frisk it seem'd given; 
Bright mackrel went springing, 
Like small rainbows winging 

Their flight up to heaven. 

The whiting and haddock 
Left salt water paddock 

This dance to be put in; 
Where skate with flat faces 
Edged out some old plaices; 

But soles kept their footing. 

Sprats and herrings in powers 
Of silvery showers 

All number out-numbered; 
And great ling so lengthy 
Was there in such plenty 

The shore was encumber'd. 

The scollop and oyster 
Their two shells did roister, 

Like castanets flitting; 
While limpets moved clearly, 
And rocks very nearly 

With laughter were splitting. 


Never was such a hullabullo in this world, before 
or since; 'twas as if heaven and earth were coming 
together; and all out of Maurice Connor's wonderful tune! 

In the height of all these doings, what should there 
be dancing among the outlandish set of fishes but a 
beautiful young woman as beautiful as the dawn of 
day! She had a cocked hat upon her head; from under 
it her long green hair just the colour of the sea fell 
down behind, without hindrance to her dancing. Her 
teeth were like rows of pearls; her lips for all the world 
looked like red coral; and she had a shining gown pale 
green as the hollow of the wave, with little rows of 
purple and red seaweeds settled out upon it ; for you 
never yet saw a lady, under the water or over the water, 
who had not a good notion of dressing herself out. 

Up she danced as last to Maurice, who was flinging 
his feet from under him as fast as hops for nothing 
in this world could keep still while that tune of his was 
going on --and says she to him, chanting it out with a 
voice as sweet, as honey: 

I'm a lady of honour 

Who live in the sea; 
Come down, Maurice Connor, 

And be married to me. 
Silver plates and gold dishes 

You shall have, and shall be 
The king of the fishes, 

When you're married to me. 

Drink was strong in Maurice's head, and out he chanted 
in return for her great civility. It is not every lady, 
may-be, that would be after making such an offer to a 
blind piper; therefore 'twas only right in him to give 
her as good as she gave herself, so says Maurice: 

I'm obliged to you, madam: 

Off a gold dish or plate, 
If a king, and I had 'em, 

I could dine in great state. 


With your own father's daughter 

I'd be sure to agree, 
But to drink the salt water 

Wouldn't do so with me! 

The lady looked at him quite amazed, and swinging 
her head from side to side like a great scholar, 'Well,' 
says she, 'Maurice, if you're not a poet, where is poetry 
to be found? ' 

In this way they kept on at it, framing high com- 
pliments; one answering the other, and their feet going 
with the music as fast as their tongues. All the fish 
kept dancing, too; Maurice heard the clatter and was 
afraid to stop playing lest it might be displeasing to 
the fish, and not knowing what so many of them may 
take it into their heads to do to him if they got vexed. 

Well, the lady with the green hair kept on coaxing 
Maurice with soft speeches, till at last she over- 
persuaded him to promise to marry her, and be king 
over the fishes, great and small. Maurice was well 
fitted to be their king, if they wanted one that could 
make them dance; and he surely would drink, barring 
the salt water, with any fish of them all. 

When Maurice's mother saw him with that un- 
natural thing in the form of a green-haired lady as his 
guide, and he and she dancing down together so lovingly 
to the water's edge, through the thick of the fishes, 
she called out after him to stop and come back. 'Oh, 
then,' says she, 'as if I was not widow enough before, 
there he is going away from me to be married to that 
scaly woman. And who knows but 'tis grandmother 
I may be to a hake or a cod - - Lord help and pity me, 
but 'tis a mighty unnatural thing! And may-be 'tis 
boiling and eating my own grandchild I'll be, with a 
bit of salt butter, and I not knowing it! Oh, Maurice, 
Maurice, if there's any love or nature left in you, come 
back to your own ould mother, who reared you like a 
decent Christian!' Then the poor woman began to cry 

The Sea-lady allures Maurice into the Sea. 


and sob so finely that it would do anyone good to 
hear her. 

Maurice was not long getting to the rim of the water. 
There he kept playing and dancing on. as if nothing was 
the matter, and a great thundering wave coming in 
towards him ready to swallow him up alive; but as he 
could not see it, he did not fear it. His mother it was 
who saw it plainly through the big tears that were rolling 
down her cheeks; and though she saw it, and her heart 
was aching as much as ever mother's heart ached 
for a son, she kept dancing, dancing all the time for 
the bare life of her. Certain it was she could not help 
it, for Maurice never stopped playing that wonderful 
tune of his. 

He only turned his ear to the sound of his mother's 
voice, fearing it might put him out in his steps, and 
all the answer he made back was, 'Whisht with you, 
mother sure I'm going to be king over the fishes down 
in the sea, and for a token of luck, and a sign that I'm 
alive and well, I'll send you in, every twelvemonth on 
this day, a piece of burned wood to Trafraska.' Maurice 
had not the power to say a word more, for the strange 
lady with the green hair, seeing the wave just upon 
them, covered him up with herself in a thing like a cloak 
with a big hood to it, and the wave curling over twice 
as high as their heads, burst upon the strand, with a 
rush and a roar that might be heard as far as 
Cape Clear. 

That day twelvemonth the piece of burned wood 
came ashore in Trafraska. It was a queer thing for 
Maurice to think of sending all the way from the bottom 
of the sea. A gown or a pair of shoes would have been 
something like a present for his poor mother; but he 
had said it, and he kept his word. The bit of burned 
wood regularly came ashore on the appointed day for 
as good, ay, and better than a hundred years. The 
day is now forgotten, and may-be that is the reason 


why people say how Maurice Connor has stopped sending 
the luck-token to his mother. Poor woman, she did not 
live to get as much as one of them; for what through 
the loss of Maurice, and the fear of eating her own grand- 
children, she died in three weeks after the dance. Some 
say it was the fatigue that killed her, but whichever 
it was, Mrs. Connor was decently buried with her 
own people. 

Seafaring people have often heard, off the coast of 
Kerry, on a still night, the sound of music coming up 
from the water; and some, who have had good ears 
could plainly distinguish Maurice Connor's voice singing 
these words to his pipes - 

Beautiful shore, with thy spreading strand, 
Thy crystal water, and diamond sand; 
Never would I have parted from thee, 
But for the sake of my fair ladie. 

From 'Fairy Tales and Traditions of the South of Ireland.' 


THERE was once a rich old man who had two sons, and as 
his wife was dead, the elder lived with him, and helped 
him to look after his property. For a long time all 
went well; the young man got up very early in the 
morning, and worked hard all day, and at the end of 
every week his father counted up the money they had 
made, and rubbed his hands with delight, as he saw 
how big the pile of gold in the strong iron chest was 
becoming. 'It .will soon be full now, and I shall have to 
buy a larger one,' he said to himself, and so busy was 
he with the thought of his money, that he did not 
notice how bright his son's face had grown, nor how he 
sometimes started when he was spoken to, as if his 
mind was far away. 

One day, however, the old man went to the city on 
business, which he had not done for three years at least. 
It was market day, and he met with many people he 
knew, and it was getting quite late when he turned 
into the inn yard, and bade an ostler saddle his horse, 
and bring it round directly. While he was waiting in 
the hall, the landlady came up for a gossip, and after 
a few remarks about the weather and the vineyards 
she asked him how he liked his new daughter-in-law, 
and whether he had been surprised at the marriage. 

The old man stared as he listened to her. 'Daughter- 
in-law? Marriage?' said he. 'I don't know what you 
are talking about! I've got no daughter-in-law, and 


nobody has been married lately, that ever I heard 

Now this was exactly what the landlady, who was 
very curious, wanted to find out; but she put on a look 
of great alarm, and exclaimed: 

'Oh, dear! I hope I have not made mischief. I 
had no idea or, of course, I would not have spoken - 
but' - - and here she stopped and fumbled with her 
apron, as if she was greatly embarrassed. 

'As you have said so much you will have to say a little 
more,' retorted the old man, a suspicion of what she 
meant darting across him ; and the woman, nothing loth, 
answered as before. 

'Ah, it was not all for buying or selling that your 
handsome son has been coming to town every week 
these many months past. And not by the shortest way, 
either! No, it was over the river he rode, and across 
the hill and past the cottage of Miguel the vine-keeper, 
whose daughter, they say, is the prettiest girl in the 
whole country side, though she is too white for my taste,' 
and then the landlady paused again, and glanced up at 
the farmer, to see how he was taking it. She did not 
learn much. He was looking straight before him, his 
teeth set. But as she ceased to talk, he said quietly, 
'Go on.' 

'There is not much more to tell,' replied the land- 
lady, for she suddenly remembered that she must pre- 
pare supper for the hungry men who always stopped 
at the inn on market days, before starting for home, 
' but one fine morning they both went to the little church 
on top of the hill, and were married. My cousin is 
servant to the priest, and she found out about it and 
told me. But good-day to you, sir; here is your horse, 
and I must hurry off to the kitchen.' 

It was lucky that the horse was sure-footed and knew 
the road, for his bridle hung loose on his neck, and his 
master took no heed of the way he was going. When 


the farm-house was reached, the man led the animal to 
his stable, and then went to look for his son. 

' I know everything you have deceived me. Get 
out of my sight at once-- 1 have done with you,' he 
stammered, choking with passion as he came up to the 
young man, who was cutting a stick in front of the 
door, whistling gaily the while. 

'But, father - 

'You are no son of mine; I have only one now. 
Begone, or it will be the worse for you,' and as he 
spoke he lifted up his whip. 

The young man shrank back. He feared lest his 
father should fall down in a fit, his face was so red and 
his eyes seemed bursting from his head. But it was no 
use staying: perhaps next morning the old man might 
listen to reason, though in his heart the son felt that 
he would never take back his words. So he turned 
slowly away, and walked heavily along a path which 
ended in a cave on the side of the hill, and there he sat 
through the night, thinking of what had happened. 

'Yes, he had been wrong, there was no doubt of 
that, and he did not quite know how it had come about. 
He had meant to have told his father all about it, and 
he was sure, quite sure, that if once the old man had 
seen his wife, he would have forgiven her poverty on 
account of her great beauty and goodness. But he had 
put it off from day to day, hoping always for a better 
opportunity, and now this was the end! 

If the son had no sleep that night, no more had the 
father, and as soon as the sun rose, he sent a messenger 
into the great city with orders to bring back the younger 
brother. When he arrived the farmer did not waste 
words, but informed him that he was now his only heir, 
and would inherit all his lands and money, and that he 
was to come and live at home, and to help manage the 


Though very pleased at the thought of becoming 
such a rich man - - for the brothers had never cared 
much for each other --the younger would rather have 
stayed where he was, for he soon got tired of the coun- 
try, and longed for a town life. However, this he kept 
to himself, and made the best of things, working hard 
like his brother before him. 

In this way the years went on, but the crops were 
not so good as they had been, and the old man gave 
orders that some fine houses he was building in the 
city should be left unfinished, for it would take all his 
savings to complete them. As to the elder son, he 
would never even hear his name mentioned, and died 
at last without ever seeing his face, leaving to the 
younger as he had promised-, all his lands, as well as 
his money. 

Meanwhile, the son whom he had disinherited had 
grown poorer and poorer. He and his wife were always 
looking out for something to do, and never spent a penny 
that they could help, but luck was against them, and 
at the time of his father's death they had hardly bread 
to eat or clothes to cover them. If there had been only 
himself, he would have managed to get on somehow, 
but he could not bear to watch his children becoming 
weaker day by day, and swallowing his pride, at length 
he crossed the mountains to his old home where his 
brother was living. 

It was the first time for long that the two men had 
come face to face, and they looked at each other in silence. 
Then tears rose in the eyes of the elder, but winking 
them hastily away, he said: 

'Brother, it is not needful that I should tell you 
how poor I am; you can see that for yourself. I have 
not come to beg for money, but only to ask if you will 
give me those unfinished houses of yours in the city, 
and I will make them water-tight, so that my wife and 


children can live in them, and that will save our rent. 
For as they are, they profit you nothing.' 

And the younger brother listened and pitied him, 
and gave him the houses that he asked for, and the elder 
went away happy. 

For some years things went on as they were, and 
then the rich brother began to feel lonely, and thought 
to himself that he was getting older, and it was time 
for him to be married. The wife he chose was very 
wealthy, but she was also very greedy, and however much 
she had, she always wanted more. She was, besides, 
one of those unfortunate people who invariably fancy 
that the possessions of other people must be better than 
their own. Many a time her poor husband regretted 
the day that he had first seen her, and often her mean- 
ness and shabby ways put him to shame. But he had 
not the courage to rule her, and she only got worse and 

After she had been married a few months the bride 
wanted to go into the city and buy herself some new 
dresses. She had never been there before, and when 
she had finished her shopping, she thought she would 
pay a visit to her unknown sister-in-law, and rest for a 
bit. The house she was seeking was in a broad street, 
and ought to have been very magnificent, but the carved 
stone portico enclosed a mean little door of rough wood, 
while a row of beautiful pillars led to nothing. The 
dwellings on each side were in the same unfinished con- 
dition, and water trickled down the walls. Most people 
would have considered it a wretched place, and turned 
their backs on it as soon as they could, but this lady 
saw that by spending some money the houses could be 
made as splendid as they were originally intended to 
be, and she instantly resolved to get them for herself. 

Full of this idea she walked up the marble staircase, 
and entered the little room where her sister-in-law sat 


making clothes for her children. The bride seemed 
full of interest in the houses, and asked a great many 
questions about them, so that her new relations liked 
her much better than they expected, and hoped they 
might be good friends. However, as soon as she reached 
home, she went straight to her husband, and told him 
that he must get back those houses from his brother, 
as they would exactly suit her, and she could easily 
make them into a palace as fine as the king's. But her 
husband only told her that she might buy houses in 
some other part of the town, for she could not have 
those, as he had long since made a gift of them to his 
brother, who had lived there for many years past. 

At this answer the wife grew very angry. She began 
to cry, and made such a noise that all the neighbours 
heard her and put their heads out of the windows, to 
see what was the matter. 'It was absurd,' she sobbed 
out, 'quite unjust. Indeed, if you came to think of it, 
the gift was worth nothing, as when her husband made 
it he was a bachelor, and since then he had been mar- 
ried, and she had never given her consent to any such 
thing.' And so she lamented all day and all night, 
till the poor man was nearly worried to death; and at 
last he did what she wished, and summoned his brother 
in a court of law to give up the houses which, he said, 
had only been lent to him. But when the evidence on 
both sides had been heard, the judge decided in favour 
of the poor man, which made the rich lady more furious 
than ever, and she determined not to rest until she had 
gained the day. If one judge would not give her 
the houses another should, and so time after time the 
case was tried over again, till at last it came before the 
highest judge of all, in the city of Evora. Her husband 
was heartily tired and ashamed of the whole affair, 
but his weakness in not putting a stop to it in the 
beginning had got him into this difficulty, and now he 
was forced to go on. 


On the same day the two brothers set out on their 
journey to the city, the rich one on horseback, with 
plenty of food in his knapsack, the poor one on foot 
with nothing but a piece of bread and four onions to 
eat on the way. The road was hilly and neither could 
go very fast, and when night fell, they were both glad 
to see some lights in a window a little distance in front 
of them. 

The lights turned out to have been placed there by 
a farmer, who had planned to have a particularly 
good supper as it was his wife's birthday, and bade the 
rich man enter and sit down, while he himself took the 
horse to the stable. The poor man asked timidly if he 
might spend the night in a corner, adding that he had 
brought his own supper with him. Another time per- 
mission might have been refused him, for the farmer 
was no lover of humble folk, but now he gave the elder 
brother leave to come in, pointing out a wooden chair 
where he could sit. 

Supper was soon served, and very glad the younger 
brother was to eat it, for his long ride had made him 
very hungry. The farmer's wife, however, would touch 
nothing, and at last declared that the only supper she 
wanted was one of the onions the poor man was cooking 
at the fire. Of course he gave it to her, though he would 
gladly have eaten it himself, as three onions are not 
much at the end of a long day's walk, and soon after 
they all went to sleep, the poor man making himself 
as comfortable as he could in his corner. 

A few hours later the farmer was aroused by the cries 
and groans of his wife. 

'Oh, I feel so ill, I'm sure I'm going to die,' wept she. 
'It was that onion, I know it was. I wish I had never 
eaten it. It must have been poisoned.' 

'If the man has poisoned you he shall pay for it,' 
said her husband, and seizing a thick stick he ran 


downstairs and began to beat the poor man, who had 
been sound asleep, and had nothing to defend himself 
with. Luckily, the noise aroused the younger brother, 
who jumped up and snatched the stick from the farmer's 
hand, saying: 

'We are both going to Evora to try a law-suit. Come 
too, and accuse him there if he has attempted to rob 
you or murder you, but don't kill him now, or you will 
get yourself into trouble.' 

'Well, perhaps you are right,' answered the farmer, 
'but the sooner that fellow has his deserts, the better 
I shall be pleased,' and without more words he went 
to the stables and brought out a horse for himself and 
also the black Andalusian mare ridden by the rich man, 
while the poor brother, fearing more ill-treatment, started 
at once on foot. 

Now all that night it had rained heavily, and did 
not seem likely to stop, and in some places the road 
was so thick with mud that it was almost impossible to 
get across it. In one spot it was so very bad that a 
mule laden with baggage had got stuck in it, and tug 
as he might, his master was quite unable to pull him 
out. The muleteer in despair appealed to the two horse- 
men, who were carefully skirting the swamp at some 
distance off, but they paid no heed to his cries, and he 
began to talk cheerfully to his mule, hoping to keep up 
his spirits, declaring that if the poor beast would only 
have a little patience help was sure to come. 

And so it did, for very soon the poor brother reached 
the place, bespattered with mud from head to foot, but 
ready to do all he could to help the mule and his master. 
First they set about finding some stout logs of wood 
to lay down on the marsh so that they could reach the 
mule, for by this time his frantic struggles had broken 
his bridle, and he was deeper in than ever. Stepping 
cautiously along the wood, the poor man contrived to 


lay hold of the animal's tail, and with a desperate effort 
the mule managed to regain his footing on dry ground, 
but at the cost of leaving his tail in the poor man's hand. 
When he saw this the muleteer's anger knew no bounds, 
and forgetting that without the help given him he would 
have lost his mule altogether, he began to abuse the 
poor man, declaring that he had ruined his beast, and 
the law would make him pay for it. Then, jumping 
on the back of the mule, which was so glad to be out 
of the choking mud that he did not seem to mind the 
loss of his tail, the ungrateful wretch rode on, and that 
evening reached the inn at Evora, where the rich man 
and the farmer had already arrived for the night. 

Meanwhile the poor brother walked wearily along, 
wondering what other dreadful adventures were in 
store for him. 

'I shall certainly be condemned for one or other of 
them,' thought he sadly; 'and after all, if I have to 
die, I would rather choose my own death than leave it 
to my enemies,' and as soon as he entered Evora he 
looked about for a place suitable for carrying out the 
plan he had made. At length he found what he sought, 
but as it was too late and too dark for him to make sure 
of success, he curled himself up under a doorway, and 
slept till morning. 

Although it was winter, the sun rose in a clear sky, 
and its rays felt almost warm when the poor man got 
up and shook himself. He intended it to be the day of 
his death, but in spite of that, and of the fact that he 
was leaving his wife and children behind him, he felt 
almost cheerful. He had struggled so long, and was so 
very, very tired; but he would not have minded that 
if he could have proved his innocence, and triumphed 
over his enemies. However, they had all been too 
clever for him, and he had no strength to fight any 
more. So he mounted the stone steps that led to the 


battlements of the city, and stopped for a moment to 
gaze about him. 

It happened that an old sick man who lived near by 
had begged to be carried out and to be laid at the foot 
of the wall so that the beams of the rising sun might 
fall upon him, and he would be able to talk with his 
friends as they passed by to their work. Little did he 
guess that on top of the battlements, exactly over his 
head, stood a man who was taking his last look at the 
same sun, before going to his death that awaited him. 
But so it was; and as the steeple opposite was touched 
by the golden light, the poor man shut his eyes and 
sprang forward. The wall was high, and he flew rapidly 
through the air, but it was not the ground he touched, 
only the body of the sick man, who rolled over and died 
without a groan. As for the other, he was quite unhurt, 
and was slowly rising to his feet when his arms were 
suddenly seized and held. 

'You have killed our father, do you see? do you see?' 
cried two young men, 'and you will come with us this 
instant before the judge, and answer for it.' 

'Your father? but I don't know him. What do you 
mean?' asked the poor man, who was quite bewildered 
with his sudden rush through the air, and could 
not think why he should be accused of this fresh 
crime. But he got no reply, and was only hurried 
through the streets to the court-house, where his brother, 
the muleteer, and the farmer had just arrived, all as 
angry as ever, all talking at once, till the judge entered 
and ordered them to be silent. 

'I will hear you one by one,' he said, and motioned 
the younger brother to begin. 

He did not take long to state his case. The unfin- 
ished houses were his, left him with the rest of the 
property by his father, and his brother refused to give 
them up. In answer, the poor man told, in a few words, 
how he had begged the houses from his brother, 


and produced the deed of gift which made him their 

The judge listened quietly and asked a few questions; 
then he gave his verdict. 

'The houses shall remain the property of the man 
to whom they were given, and to whom they belong. 
And as you,' he added, turning to the younger brother, 
'brought this accusation knowing full well it was 
wicked and unjust, I order you, besides losing the 
houses, to pay a thousand pounds damages to your 

The rich man heard the judge with rage in his heart, 
the poor man with surprise and gratitude. But he was 
not safe yet, for now it was the turn of the farmer. The 
judge could hardly conceal a smile at the story, and 
inquired if the wife was dead before the farmer left the 
house, and received for answer that he was in such a 
hurry for justice to be done that he had not waited to 
see. Then the poor man told his tale, and once more 
judgment was given in his favour, while twelve hun- 
dred pounds was ordered to be paid him. As for the 
muleteer, he was informed very plainly that he had 
proved himself mean and ungrateful for the help that 
had been given him, and as a punishment he must pay 
to the poor man a fine of fifty pounds, and hand him 
over the mule till his tail had grown again. 

Lastly, there came the two sons of the sick man. 

'This is the wretch who killed our father,' they said, 
'and we demand that he should die also.' 

'How did you kill him?' asked the judge, turning 
to the accused, and the poor man told how he had 
leaped from the wall, not knowing that anyone was 

'Well, this is my judgment,' replied the judge, when 
they had all spoken: 'Let the accused sit under the 
wall, and let the sons of the dead man jump from the 
top and fall on him and kill him, and if they will not 


do this, then they are condemned to pay eight hundred 
pounds for their false accusation.' 

The young men looked at each other, and slowly 
shook their heads. 

'We will pay the fine,' said they, and the judge 

So the poor man rode the mule home, and brought 
back to his family enough money to keep them in com- 
fort to the end of their days. 

Adapted from the Portuguese. 


AN old couple once lived in a hut under a grove of palm 
trees, and they had one son and one daughter. They 
were all very happy together for many years, and then 
the father became very ill, and felt he was going to die. 
He called his children to the place where he lay on the 
floor for no one had any beds in that country and 
said to his son, 'I have no herds of cattle to leave you 
- only the few things there are in the house for I 
am a poor man, as you know. But choose: will you 
have my blessing or my property ? ' 

'Your property, certainly,' answered the son, and his 
father nodded. 

'And you?' asked the old man of the girl, who stood 
by her brother. 

'I will have blessing,' she answered, and her father 
gave her much blessing. 

That night he died, and his wife and son and 
daughter mourned for him seven days, and gave him 
a burial according to the custom of his people. But 
hardly was the time of mourning over, than the mother 
was attacked by a disease which was common in that 

'I am going away from you,' she said to her children, 
in a faint voice; 'but first, my son, choose which you 
will have: blessing or property.' 

'Property, certainly,' answered the son. 

' And you, my daughter ? ' 


'I will have blessing,' said the girl; and her mother 
gave her much blessing, and that night she died. 

When the days of mourning were ended, the brother 
bade his sister put outside the hut all that belonged to 
his father and his mother. So the girl put them out, and 
he took them away, save only a small pot and a vessel in 
which she could clean her corn. But she had no corn to 

She sat at home, sad and hungry, when a neighbour 
knocked at the door. 

'My pot has cracked in the fire, lend me yours to 
cook my supper in, and I will give you a handful of corn 
in return.' 

And the girl was glad, and that night she was able 
to have supper herself, and next day another woman 
borrowed her pot, and then another and another, for 
never were known so many accidents as befell the village 
pots at that time. She soon grew quite fat with all the 
corn she earned with the help of her pot, and then one 
evening she picked up a pumpkin seed in a corner, and 
planted it near her well, and it sprang up, and gave her 
many pumpkins. 

At last it happened that a youth from her village 
passed through the place where the girl's brother was, 
and the two met and talked. 

'What news is there of my sister?' asked the young 
man, with whom things had gone badly, for he was idle. 

'She is fat and well-liking,' replied the youth, 'for 
the women borrow her mortar to clean their corn, and 
borrow her pot to cook it in, and for all this they give 
her more food than she can eat.' And he went his way. 

Now the brother was filled with envy at the words of 
the man, and he set out at once, and before dawn he had 
reached the hut, and saw the pot and the mortar were 
standing outside. He slung them over his shoulders 
and departed, pleased with his own cleverness; but 


when his sister awoke and sought for the pot to cook 
her corn for breakfast, she could find it nowhere. At 
length she said to herself: 

'Well, some thief must have stolen them while I slept. 
I will go and see if any of my pumpkins are ripe.' And 
indeed they were, and so many that the tree was almost 
broken by the weight of them. So she ate what she 
wanted and took the others, to the village, and gave 
them in exchange for corn, and the women said that 
no pumpkins were as sweet as these, and that she was 
to bring every day all that she had. In this way she 
earned more than she needed for herself, and soon was 
able to get another mortar and cooking pot in exchange 
for her corn. Then she thought she was quite rich. 

Unluckily someone else thought so too, and this was 
her brother's wife, who had heard all about the pump- 
kin tree, and sent her slave with a handful of grain to 
buy her a pumpkin. At first the girl told him that 
so few were left that she could not spare any; but when 
she found that he belonged to her brother, she changed 
her mind, and went out to the tree and gathered the 
largest and the ripest that was there. 

'Take this one,' she said to the slave, 'and carry it 
back to your mistress, but tell her to keep the corn, as 
the pumpkin is a gift.' 

The brother's wife was overjoyed at the sight of 
the fruit, and when she tasted it, she declared it was 
the nicest she had ever eaten. Indeed, all night she 
thought of nothing else, and early in the morning she 
called another slave (for she was a rich woman) and bade 
him go and ask for another pumpkin. But the girl, who 
had just been out to look at her tree, told him that they 
were all eaten, so he went back empty-handed to his 

In the evening her husband returned from hunting a 
long way off, and found his wife in tears. 


'What is the matter?' asked he. 

'I sent a slave with some grain to your sister to buy 
some pumpkins, but she would not sell me any, and told 
me there were none, though I know she lets other people 
buy them.' 

'Well, never mind now go to sleep,' said he, 'and 
to-morrow I will go and pull up the pumpkin tree, and 
that will punish her for treating you so badly.' 

So before sunrise he got up and set out for his sister's 
house, and found her cleaning some corn. 

'Why did you refuse to sell my wife a pumpkin yes- 
terday when she wanted one? ' he asked. 

'The old ones are finished, and the new ones are not 
yet come,' answered the girl. 'When her slave arrived 
two days ago, there were only four left; but I gave him 
one, and would take no corn for it.' 

'I do not believe you: you have sold them all to other 
people. I shall go and cut down the pumpkin,' cried 
her brother in a rage. 

'If you cut down the pumpkin you shall cut off my 
hand with it,' exclaimed the girl, running up to her tree 
and catching hold of it. But her brother followed, and 
with one blow cut off the pumpkin and her hand too. 

Then he went into the house and took away every- 
thing he could find, and sold the house to a friend of his 
who had long wished to have it, and his sister had no 
home to go to. 

Meanwhile she had bathed her arm carefully, and 
bound on it some healing leaves that grew near by, and 
wrapped a cloth round the leaves, and went to hide in 
the forest, that her brother might not find her again. 

For seven days she wandered about, eating only the 
fruit that hung from the trees above her, and every 
night she climbed up and tucked herself safely among 
the creepers which bound together the big branches, so 
that neither lions nor tigers nor panthers might get at 



When she woke up on the seventh morning she saw 
from her perch smoke coming up from a little town on 
the edge of the forest. The sight of the huts made her 
feel more lonely and helpless than before. She longed 
desperately for a draught of milk from a gourd, for there 
were no streams in that part, and she was very thirsty, 
but how was she to earn anything with only one hand? 
And at this thought her courage failed, and she began to 
cry bitterly. 

It happened that the king's son had come out from 
the town very early to shoot birds, and when the sun 
grew hot he felt tired. 

'I will lie here and rest under this tree,' he said to his 
attendants. 'You can go and shoot instead, and I will 
just have this slave to stay with me!' Away they went, 
and the young man fell asleep, and slept long. Sud- 
denly he was awakened by something wet and salt falling 
on his face. 

'What is that? Is it raining?' he said to his slave. 
'Go and look.' 

'No, master, it is not raining,' answered the slave. 

'Then climb up the tree and see what it is,' and the 
slave climbed up, and came back and told his master 
that a beautiful girl was sitting up there, and that it 
must have been her tears which had fallen on the face of 
the king's son. 

'Why was she crying?' inquired the prince. 

'I cannot tell-- I did not dare to ask her; but per- 
haps she would tell you.' And the master, greatly 
wondering, climbed up the tree. 

'What is the matter with you?' said he gently, and, 
as she only sobbed louder, he continued: 

'Are you a woman, or a spirit of the woods?' 

'I am a woman,' she answered slowly, wiping her 
eyes with a leaf of the creeper that hung about her. 

' Then why do you cry ? ' he persisted. 


'I have many things to cry for,' she replied, 'more 
than you could ever guess.' 

'Come home with me,' said the prince; 'it is not very 
far. Come home to my father and mother. I am a 
king's son.' 

'Then why are you here?' she said, opening her eyes 
and staring at him. 

'Once every month I and my friends shoot birds in 
the forest,' he answered, 'but I was tired and bade them 
leave me to rest. And you --what are you doing up in 
this tree?' 

At that she began to cry again, and told the king's 
son all that had befallen her since the death of her 

'I cannot come down with you, for I do not like any- 
one to see me,' she ended with a sob. 

'Oh! I will manage all that,' said the king's son, and 
swinging himself to a lower branch, he bade his slave go 
quickly into the town, and bring back with him four 
strong men and a curtained litter. When the man was 
gone, the girl climbed down, and hid herself on the ground 
in some bushes. Very soon the slave returned with the 
litter, which was placed on the ground close to the bushes 
where the girl lay. 

'Now go, all of you, and call my attendants, for I do 
not wish to stay here any longer,' he said to the men, and 
as soon as they were out of sight he bade the girl get 
into the litter, and fasten the curtains tightly. Then 
he got in on the other side, and waited till his attend- 
ants came up. 

'What is the matter, O son of a king?' asked they, 
breathless with running. 

'I think I am ill; I am cold,' he said, and signing to 
the bearers, he drew the curtains, and was carried through 
the forest right inside his own house. 

'Tell my father and mother that I have a fever, and 
want some gruel,' said he, 'and bid them send it quickly.' 

- FttX)D^.-THe CURL: IN 


So the slave hastened to the king's palace and gave 
his message, which troubled both the king and the queen 
greatly. A pot of hot gruel was instantly prepared, and 
carried over to the sick man, and as soon as the council 
which was sitting was over, the king and his ministers 
went to pay him a visit, bearing a message from the 
queen that she would follow a little later. 

Now the prince had pretended to be ill in order to 
soften his parents' hearts, and the next day he declared 
he felt better, and, getting into his litter, was carried to 
the palace in state, drums being beaten all along the 

He dismounted at the foot of the steps and walked 
up, a great parasol being held over his head by a slave. 
Then he entered the cool, dark room where his father 
and mother were sitting, and said to them: 

'I saw a girl yesterday in the forest whom I wish to 
marry, and, unknown to my attendants, I brought her 
back to my house in a litter. Give me your consent, I 
beg, for no other woman pleases me as well, even though 
she has but one hand ! ' 

Of course the king and queen would have preferred 
a daughter-in-law with two hands, and one who could 
have brought riches with her, but they could not bear to 
say 'No' to their son, so they told him it should be as he 
chose, and that the wedding feast should be prepared 

The girl could scarcely believe her good fortune, and, 
in gratitude for all the kindness shown her, was so useful 
and pleasant to her husband's parents that they soon 
loved her. 

By and bye a baby was born to her, and soon after 
that the prince was sent on a journey by his father to 
visit some of the distant towns of the kingdom, and to 
set right things that had gone wrong. 

No sooner had he started than the girl's brother, who 


had wasted all the riches his wife had brought him in 
recklessness and folly, and was now very poor, chanced 
to come into the town, and as he passed he heard a man 
say, 'Do you know that the king's son has married a 
woman who has lost one of her hands?' On hearing 
these words the brother stopped and asked, 'Where did 
he find such a woman ? ' 

'In the forest,' answered the man, and the cruel brother 
guessed at once it must be his sister. 

A great rage took possession of his soul as he thought 
of the girl whom he had tried to ruin being after all so 
much better off than himself, and he vowed that he 
would work her ill. Therefore that very afternoon he 
made his way to the palace and asked to see the king. 

When he was admitted to his presence, he knelt 
down and touched the ground with his forehead, and 
the king bade him stand up and tell wherefore he had 

' By the kindness of your heart have you been deceived, 
O king,' said he. 'Your son has married a girl who 
has lost a hand. Do you know why she has lost it? 
She was a witch, and has wedded three husbands, and 
each husband she has put to death with her arts. Then 
the people of the town cut off her hand, and turned her 
into the forest. And what I say is true, for her town is 
my town also.' 

The king listened, and his face grew dark. Unluckily 
he had a hasty temper, and did not stop to reason, and, 
instead of sending to the town, and discovering people 
who knew his daughter-in-law and could have told him 
how hard she had worked and how poor she had been, 
he believed all the brother's lying words, and made 
the queen believe them too. Together they took counsel 
what they should do, and in the end they decided that 
they also would put her out of the town. But this did 
not content the brother. 

'Kill her,' he said. 'It is no more than she deserves 



for daring to marry the king's son. Then she can do no 
more hurt to anyone.' 

'We cannot kill her,' answered they; 'if we did, our 
son would assuredly kill us. Let us do as the others did, 

and put her out of the town.' And with this the envious 
brother was forced to be content. 

The poor girl loved her husband very much, but just 
then the baby was more to her than all else in the world, 


and as long as she had him with her, she did not very 
much mind anything. So, taking her son on her arm, 
and hanging a little earthen pot for cooking round her 
neck, she left her house with its great peacock fans and 
slaves and seats of ivory, and plunged into the forest. 

For a while she walked, not knowing whither she 
went, then by and bye she grew tired, and sat under a 
tree to rest and to hush her baby to sleep. Suddenly she 
raised her eyes, and saw a snake wriggling from under 
the bushes towards her. 

'I am a dead woman,' she said to herself, and stayed 
quite still, for indeed she was too frightened to move. 
In another minute the snake had reached her side, and 
to her surprise he spoke. 

'Open your earthen pot, and let me go in. Save me 
from sun, and I will save you from rain,' and she opened 
the pot, and when the snake had slipped in, she put on 
the cover. Soon she beheld another snake coming 
after the other one, and when it had reached her it stopped 
and said, 'Did you see a small grey snake pass this way 
just now?' 

'Yes,' she answered, 'it was going very quickly.' 

'Ah, I must hurry and catch it up,' replied the second 
snake, and it hastened on. 

When it was out of sight, a voice from the pot said: 

'Uncover me,' and she lifted the lid, and the little 
grey snake slid rapidly to the ground. 

'I am safe now,' he said. 'But tell me, where are 
you going?' 

'I cannot tell you, for I do not know,' she answered. 
'I am just wandering in the wood.' 

'Follow me, and let us go home together,' said the 
snake, and the girl followed him through the forest and 
along the green paths, till they came to a great lake, 
where they stopped to rest. 

'The sun is hot,' said the snake, 'and you have 



walked far. Take your baby and bathe in that cool 
place where the boughs of the tree stretch far over the 

'Yes, I will,' answered she, and they went in. The 
baby splashed and crowed with delight, and then he 
gave a spring and fell right in, down, down, down, and 
his mother could not find him, though she searched all 
among the reeds. 

Full of terror, she made her way back to the bank, and 
called to the snake, 'My baby is gone! --he is drowned, 
and never shall I see him again.' 

'Go in once more,' said the snake, 'and feel every- 
where, even among the trees that have their roots in the 
water, lest perhaps he may be held fast there.' 

Swiftly she went back and felt everywhere with her 
whole hand, even putting her fingers into the tiniest 
crannies, where a crab could hardly have taken shelter. 

'No, he is not here,' she cried. 'How am I to live 
without him?' But the snake took no notice, and only 
answered, 'Put in your other arm too.' 

'What is the use of that?' she asked, 'when it has 
no hand to feel with ? ' but all the same she did as she was 
bid, and in an instant the wounded arm touched some- 
thing round and soft, lying between two stones in a 
clump of reeds. 

'My baby, my baby!' she shouted, and lifted him 
up, merry and laughing, and not a bit hurt or frightened. 

' Have you found him this time ? ' asked the snake. 

'Yes, oh, yes!' she answered, 'and, why --why - 
I have got my hand back again!' and from sheer joy 
she burst into tears. 

The snake let her weep for a little while, and then he 
said - 

'Now we will journey on to my family, and we will 
all repay you for the kindness you showed to me.' 

'You have done more than enough in giving me 


back my hand,' replied the girl; but the snake only 

'Be quick, lest the sun should set,' he answered, and 
began to wriggle along so fast that the girl could hardly 
follow him. 

By and bye they arrived at the house in a tree where 
the snake lived, when he was not travelling with his 
father and mother. And he told them all his adven- 
tures, and how he had escaped from his enemy. The 
father and mother snake could not do enough to show 
their gratitude. They made their guest lie down on a 
hammock woven of the strong creepers which hung from 
bough to bough, till she was quite rested after her wan- 
derings, while they watched the baby and gave him 
milk to drink from the coconuts which they persuaded 
their friends the monkeys to crack for them. They even 
managed to carry small fruit tied up in their tails for the 
baby's mother, who felt at last that she was safe and at 
peace. Not that she forgot her husband, for she often 
thought of him and longed to show him her son, and in 
the night she would sometimes lie awake and wonder 
where he was. 

In this manner many weeks passed by. 

And what was the prince doing? 

Well, he had fallen very ill when he was on the furthest 
border of the kingdom, and he was nursed by some 
kind people who did not know who he was, so that the 
king and queen heard nothing about him. When he 
was better he made his way slowly home again, and into 
his father's palace, where he found a strange man stand- 
ing behind the throne with the peacock's feathers. This 
was his wife's brother, whom the king had taken into 
high favour, though, of course, the prince was quite 
ignorant of what had happened. 

For a moment the king and queen stared at their son, 
as if he had been unknown to them ; he had grown so thin 


and weak during his illness that his shoulders were bowed 
like those of an old man. 

' Have you forgotten me so soon ? ' he asked. 

At the sound of his voice they gave a cry and ran 
towards him, and poured out questions as to what had 
happened, and why he looked like that. But the prince 
did not answer any of them. 

' How is my wife ? ' he said. There was a pause. 

Then the queen replied: 

'She is dead.' 

'Dead'' he repeated, stepping a little backwards. 
'And my child?' 

'He is dead too.' 

The young man stood silent. Then he said, 'Show 
me their graves.' 

At these words the king, who had been feeling rather 
uncomfortable, took heart again, for. had he not pre- 
pared two beautiful tombs for his son to see, so that he 
might never, never guess what had been done to his 
wife? All these months the king and queen had been 
telling each other how good and merciful they had been 
not to take her brother's advice and to put her to 
death. But now, this somehow did not seem so 

Then the king led the way to the courtyard just 
behind the palace, and through the gate into a beautiful 
garden where stood two splendid tombs in a green space 
under the trees. The prince advanced alone, and, 
resting his head against the stone, he burst into tears. 
His father and mother stood silently behind with a 
curious pang in their souls which they did not quite 
understand. Could it be that they were ashamed of 
themselves ? 

But after a while the prince turned round, and walk- 
ing past them into the palace he bade the slaves bring 
him mourning. For seven days no one saw him, but at 
the end of them he went out hunting, and helped his 



father rule his people as before. Only no one dared to 
speak to him of his wife and son. 

At last one morning, after the girl had been lying 

ashes'- the- ortakes for- the- ring- 

awake all night thinking of her husband, she said to her 
friend the snake: 

'You have all shown me much kindness, but now I 
am well again, and want to go home and hear some news 


of my husband, and if he still mourns for me!' Now the 
heart of the snake was sad at her words, but he only said: 

'Yes, thus it must be; go and bid farewell to my father 
and mother, but if they offer you a present, see that 
you take nothing but my father's ring and my mother's 

So she went to the parent snakes, who wept bitterly 
at the thought of losing her, and offered her gold and 
jewels as much as she could carry in remembrance of 
them. But the girl shook her head and pushed the 
shining heap away from her. 

'I shall never forget you, never,' she said in a broken 
voice, ' but the only tokens I will accept from you are that 
little ring and this old casket.' 

The two snakes looked at each other in dismay. The 
ring and the casket were the only things they did not 
want her to have. Then after a short pause they spoke. 

'Why do you want the ring and casket so much? 
Who has told you of them ? ' , 

'Oh, nobody; it is just my fancy,' answered she. But 
the old snakes shook their heads and replied: 

'Not so; it is our son who told you, and, as he said, 
so it must be. If you need food, or clothes, or a house, 
tell the ring and it will find them for you. And if you 
are unhappy or in danger, tell the casket and it will set 
things right.' Then they both gave her their blessing, 
and she picked up her baby and went her way. 

She walked for a long time, till at length she came 
near the town where her husband and his father dwelt. 
Here she stopped under a grove of palm trees, and told 
the ring that she wanted a house. 

'It is ready, mistress,' whispered a queer little voice 
which made her jump, and, looking behind her, she saw 
a lovely palace made of the finest woods, and a row 
of slaves with tall fans bowing before the door. Glad 
indeed was she to enter, for she was very tired, and, after 
eating a good supper of fruit and milk which she found 


in one of the rooms, she flung herself down on a pile of 
cushions and went to sleep with her baby beside her. 

Here she stayed quietly, and every day the baby 
grew taller and stronger, and very soon he could run 
about and even talk. Of course the neighbours had a 
great deal to say about the house which had been built 
so quickly --so very quickly on the outskirts of the 
town, and invented all kinds of stories about the rich 
lady who lived in it. And by and bye, when the king 
returned with his son from the wars, some of these tales 
reached his ears. 

'It is really very odd about that house under the 
palms,' he said to the queen; 'I must "find out some- 
thing of the lady whom no one ever sees. I daresay it 
is not a lady at all, but a gang of conspirators who want 
to get possession of my throne. To-morrow I shall take 
my son and my chief ministers and insist on getting 

Soon after sunrise next day the prince's wife was 
standing on a little hill behind the house, when she saw 
a cloud of dust coming through the town. A moment 
afterwards she heard faintly the roll of the drums that 
announced the king's presence, and saw a crowd of 
people approaching the grove of palms. Her heart beat 
fast. Could her husband be among them? In any case 
they must not discover her there; so just bidding the 
ring prepare some food for them, she ran inside, and 
bound a veil of golden gauze round her head and face. 
Then, taking the child's hand, she went to the door and 

In a few minutes the whole procession came up, and 
she stepped forward and begged them to come in and 

'Willingly,' answered the king; 'go first, and we will 
follow you.' 

They followed her into a long dark room, in which 


was a table covered with gold cups and baskets filled with 
dates and coconuts and all kinds of ripe yellow fruits, 
and the king and the prince sat upon cushions and were 
served by slaves, while the ministers, among whom she 
recognised her own brother, stood behind. 

'Ah, I owe all my misery to him,' she said to herself. 
'From the first he has hated me,' but outwardly she 
showed nothing. And when the king asked her what 
news there was in the town she only answered: 

'You have ridden far; eat first, and drink, for you 
must be hungry and thirsty, and then I will tell you my 

'You speak sense,' answered the king, and silence 
prevailed for some time longer. Then he said: 

'Now, lady, I have finished, and am refreshed, there- 
fore tell me, I pray you, who you are, and whence you 
come? But, first, be seated.' 

She bowed her head and sat down on a big scarlet 
cushion, drawing her little boy, who was asleep in a 
corner, on to her knee, and began to tell the story of her 
life. As her brother listened, he would fain have left 
the house and hidden himself in the forest, but it was his 
duty to wave the fan of peacock's feathers over the king's 
head to keep off the flies, and he knew he would be seized 
by the royal guards if he tried to desert his post. He 
must stay where he was, there was no help for it, and 
luckily for him the king was too much interested in the 
tale to notice that the fan had ceased moving, and that 
flies were dancing right on the top of his thick curly hair. 

The story went on, but the story-teller never once 
looked at the prince, even through her veil, though he 
on his side never moved his eyes from her. When she 
reached the part where she had sat weeping in the tree, 
the king's son could restrain himself no longer. 

'It is my wife,' he cried, springing to where she sat 
with the sleeping child in her lap. 'They have lied to 
me, and you are not dead after all, nor the boy either! 


But what has happened? Why did they lie to me? 
and why did you leave my house where you were safe?' 
And he turned and looked fiercely at his father. 

'Let me finish my tale first, and then you will know,' 
answered she, throwing back her veil, and she told how 
her brother had come to the palace and accused her of 
being a witch, and had tried to persuade the king to slay 
her. 'But he would not do that,' she continued softly, 
'and after all, if I had stayed on in your house, I should 
never have met the snake, nor have got my hand back 
again. So let us forget all about it, and be happy once 
more, for see! our son is growing quite a big boy.' 

'And what shall be done to your brother?' asked the 
king, who was glad to think that someone had acted in 
this matter worse than himself. 

'Put him out of the town,' answered she. 

From ' Swaheli Tales,' by E. Steere. 


IN a beautiful island that lies in the southern seas, where 
chains of gay orchids bind the trees together, and the 
days and nights are equally long and nearly equally 
hot, there once lived a family of seven sisters. Their 
father and mother were dead, and they had no brothers, 
so the eldest girl ruled over the rest, and they all did 
as she bade them. One sister had to clean the house, 
a second carried water from the spring in the forest, a 
third cooked their food, while to the youngest fell the 
hardest task of all, for she had to cut and bring home 
the wood which was to keep the fire continually burning. 
This was very hot and tiring work, and when she had 
fed the fire and heaped up in a corner the sticks that 
were to supply it till the next day, she often threw herself 
down under a tree, and went sound asleep. 

One morning, however, as she was staggering along 
with her bundle on her back, she thought that the river 
which flowed past their hut looked so cool and invit- 
ing that she determined to bathe in it, instead of taking 
her usual nap. Hastily piling up her load by the fire, 
and thrusting some sticks into the flame, she ran down 
to the river and jumped in. How delicious it was diving 
and swimming and floating in the dark forest, where 
the trees were so thick that you could hardly see the 
sun! But after a while she began to look about her, 
and her eyes fell on a little fish that seemed made out of 
a rainbow, so brilliant were the colours he flashed out. 

'I should like him for a pet,' thought the girl, and 



the next time the fish swam by, she put out her hand and 
caught him. Then she ran along the grassy path till she 
came to a cave in front of which a stream fell over some 
rocks into a basin. Here she put her little fish, whose 

name was Djulung-djulung, and promising to return 
soon and bring him some dinner, she went away. 

By the time she got home, the rice for their dinner was 
ready cooked, and the eldest sister gave the other six 


their portions in wooden bowls. But the youngest did 
not finish hers, and when no one was looking, stole off 
to the fountain in the forest where the little fish was 
swimming about. 

'See! I have not forgotten you,' she cried, and one 
by one she let the grains of rice fall into the water, where 
the fish gobbled them up greedily, for he had never 
tasted anything so nice. 

'That is all for to-day,' she said at last, 'but I will 
come again to-morrow,' and bidding him good-bye she 
went down the path. 

Now the girl did not tell her sisters about the fish, 
but every day she saved half of her rice to give him, 
and called him softly in a little song she had made for 
herself. If she sometimes felt hungry, no one knew of it, 
and, indeed, she did not mind that much, when she saw 
how the fish enjoyed it. And the fish grew fat and 
big, but the girl grew thin and weak, and the loads of 
wood felt heavier every day, and at last her sisters 
noticed it. 

Then they took counsel together, and watched her 
to see what she did, and one of them followed her to the 
fountain where Djulung lived, and saw her give him all 
the rice she had saved from her breakfast. Hastening 
home the sister told the others what she had witnessed, 
and that a lovely fat fish might be had for the catching. 
So the eldest sister went and caught him, and he was 
boiled for supper, but the youngest sister was away in 
the woods, and did not know anything about it. 

Next morning she went as usual to the cave, and sang 
her little song, but no Djulung came to answer it; twice 
and thrice she sang, then threw herself on her knees by the 
edge, and peered into the dark water, but the trees cast 
such a deep c hadow that her eyes could not pierce it. 

'Djulung cannot be dead, or his body would be float- 
ing on the surface,' she said to herself, and rising to 


her feet she set out homewards, feeling all of a sudden 
strangely tired. 

'What is the matter with me?' she thought, but some- 
how or other she managed to reach the hut, and threw 
herself down in a corner, where she slept so soundly 
that for days no one was able to wake her. 

At length, one morning early, a cock began to crow 
so loud that she could sleep no longer; and as he con- 
tinued to crow she seemed to understand what he was 
saying, and that he was telling her that Djulung was 
dead, killed and eaten by her sisters, and that his bones 
lay buried under the kitchen fire. Very softly she got up, 
and took up the large stone under the fire, and creeping 
out carried the bones to the cave by the fountain, where 
she dug a hole and buried them anew. And as she 
scooped out the hole with a stick she sang a song, bid- 
ding the bones grow till they became a tree a tree 
that reached up so high into the heavens that its leaves 
would fall across the sea into another island, whose king 
would pick them up. 

As there was no Djulung to give her rice to, the girl 
soon became fat again, and as she was able to do her 
work as of old, her sisters did not trouble about her. 
They never guessed that when she went into the forest 
to gather her sticks, she never failed to pay a visit to 
the tree, which grew taller and more wonderful day by 
day. Never was such a tree seen before. Its trunk 
was of iron, its leaves were of silk, its flowers of gold, 
and its fruit of diamonds, and one evening, though the 
girl did not know it, a soft breeze took one of the leaves, 
and blew it across the sea to the feet of one of the king's 

'What a curious leaf! I have never beheld one like 
it before. I must show it to the king,' he said, and 
when the king saw it he declared he would never rest 
until he had found the tree which bore it, even if he had 


to spend the rest of his life in visiting the islands that 
lay all round. Happily for him, he began with the 
island that was nearest, and here in the forest he sud- 
denly saw standing before him the iron tree, its boughs 
covered with shining leaves like the one he carried 
about him. 

'But what sort of a tree is it, and how did it get here?' 
he asked of the attendants he had with him. No one 
could answer him, but as they were about to pass out 
of the forest a little boy went by, and the king stopped 
and inquired if there was anyone living in the neigh- 
bourhood whom he might question. 

'Seven girls live in a hut down there,' replied the 
boy, pointing with his finger to where the sun was 

'Then go and bring them here, and I will wait,' said 
the king, and the boy ran off and told the sisters that a 
great chief, with strings of jewels round his neck, had 
sent for them. 

Pleased and excited the six elder sisters at once 
followed the boy, but the youngest, who was busy, and 
who did not care about strangers, stayed behind, to 
finish the work she was doing. The king welcomed the 
girls eagerly, and asked them all manner of questions 
about the tree, but as they had never even heard of its 
existence, they could tell him nothing. 'And if we, 
who live close by the forest, do not know, you may be 
sure no one does,' added the eldest, who was rather 
cross at finding this was all that the king wanted of 

'But the boy told me there were seven of you, and 
there are only six here,' said the king. 

'Oh, the youngest is at home, but she is always half 
asleep, and is of no use except to cut wood for the fire,' 
replied they in a breath. 

'That may be, but perhaps she dreams,' answered the 
king. 'Anyway, I will speak to her also.' Then he 



signed to one of his attendants, who followed the path 
that the boy had taken to the hut. 



Soon the man returned, with the girl walking behind 
him. And as soon as she reached the tree it bowed 


itself to the earth before her, and she stretched out her 
hand and picked some of its leaves and flowers and gave 
them to the king. 

'The maiden who can work such wonders is fitted 
to be the wife of the greatest chief,' he said, and so he 
married her, and took her with him across the sea to his 
own home, where they lived happy for ever after. 

From ' Folk Lore,' by A. F. Mackenzie. 


THERE was once a fisherman who was called Salmon, 
and his Christian name was Matte. He lived by the 
shore of the big sea; where else could he live? He had 
a wife called Maie; could you find a better name for 
her? In winter they dwelt in a little cottage by the 
shore, but in spring they flitted to a red rock out in the 
sea and stayed there the whole summer until it was 
autumn. The cottage on the rock was even smaller 
than the other; it had a wooden bolt instead of an iron 
lock to the door, a stone hearth, a flagstaff, and a weather- 
cock on the roof. 

The rock was called Ahtola, and was not larger than 
the market-place of a town. Between the crevices there 
grew a little rowan tree and four alder bushes. Heaven 
only knows how they ever came there; perhaps they 
were brought by the winter storms. Besides that, 
there flourished some tufts of velvety grass, some scat- 
tered reeds, two plants of the yellow herb called tansy, 
four of a red flower, and a pretty white one; but the 
treasures of the rock consisted of three roots of garlic, 
which Maie had put in a cleft. Rock walls sheltered 
them on the north side, and the sun shone on them on 
the south. This does not seem much, but it sufficed 
Maie for a herb plot. 

All good things go in threes, so Matte and his wife 
fished for salmon in spring, for herring in summer, and 
for cod in winter. When on Saturdays the weather was 
fine and the wind favourable, they sailed to the nearest 


town, sold their fish, and went to church on Sunday. 
But it often happened that for weeks at a time they 
were quite alone on the rock Ahtola, and had nothing 
to look at except their little yellow-brown dog, which 
bore the grand name of Prince, their grass tufts, their 
bushes and blooms, the sea bays and fish, a stormy sky 
and the blue, white-crested waves. For the rock lay 
far away from the land, and there were no green islets 
or human habitations for miles round, only here and 
there appeared a rock of the same red stone as Ahtola, 
besprinkled day and night with the ocean spray. 

Matte and Maie were industrious, hard-working folk, 
happy and contented in their poor hut, and they thought 
themselves rich when they were able to salt as many 
casks of fish as they required for winter and yet have 
some left over with which to buy tobacco for the old 
man, and a pound or two of coffee for his wife, with 
plenty of burned corn and chicory in it to give it a flavour. 
Besides that, they had bread, butter, fish, a beer cask, 
and a buttermilk jar; what more did they require? 
All would have gone well had not Maie been pos- 
sessed with a secret longing which never let her 
rest; and this was, how she could manage to become 
the owner of a cow. 

' What would you do with a cow ? ' asked Matte. ' She 
could not swim so far, and our boat is not large enough 
to bring her over here; and even if we had her, we have 
nothing to feed her on.' 

'We have four alder bushes and sixteen tufts of grass,' 
rejoined Maie. 

'Yes, of course,' laughed Matte, 'and we have also 
three plants of garlic. Garlic would be fine feeding for 

'Every cow likes salt herring,' rejoined his wife. 'Even 
Prince is fond of fish.' 

'That may be,' said her husband. 'Methinks she 
would soon be a dear cow if we had to feed her on salt 


herring. All very well for Prince, who fights with the 
gulls over the last morsel. Put the cow out of your 
head, mother, we are very well off as we are.' 

Maie sighed. She knew well that her husband was 
right, but she could not give up the idea of a cow. The 
buttermilk no longer tasted as good as usual in the coffee; 
she thought of sweet cream and fresh butter, and of 
how there was nothing in the world to be compared with 

One day as Matte and his wife were cleaning herring 
on the shore they heard Prince barking, and soon there 
appeared a gaily painted boat with three young men in 
it, steering towards the rock. They were students, on 
a boating excursion, and wanted to get something to 

.'Bring us a junket, good mother,' cried they to 

'Ah! if only I had such a thing!' sighed Maie. 

'A can of fresh milk, then,' said the students; 'but 
it must not be skim.' 

'Yes, if only I had it!' sighed the old woman, still 
more deeply. 

'What! haven't you got a cow?' 

Maie was silent. This question so struck her to the 
heart that she could not reply. 

'We have no cow,' Matte answered; 'but we have 
good smoked herring, and can cook them in a couple of 

'All right, then, that will do,' said the students, as 
they flung themselves down on the rock, while fifty 
silvery-white herring were turning on the spit in front of 
the fire. 

'What's the name of this little stone in the middle 
of the ocean?' asked one of them. 

'Ahtola,' answered the old man. 

'Well, you should want for nothing when you live 
in the Sea King's dominion.' 


Matte did not understand. He had never read Kale- 
vala and knew nothing of the sea gods of old, but the 
students proceeded to explain to him.* 

'Ahti,' said they, 'is a mighty king who lives in his 
dominion of Ahtola, and has a rock at the bottom of 
the sea, and possesses besides a treasury of good things. 
He rules over all fish and animals of the deep; he has 
the finest cows and the swiftest horses that ever chewed 
grass at the bottom of the ocean. He who stands well 
with Ahti is soon a rich man, but one must beware in 
dealing with him, for he is very changeful and touchy. 
Even a little stone thrown into the water might offend 
him, and then as he takes back his gift, he stirs up the 
sea into a storm and drags the sailors down into the 
depths. Ahti owns also the fairest maidens, who bear 
the train of his queen Wellamos, and at the sound of 
music they comb their long, flowing locks, which glisten 
in the water.' 

'Oh!' cried Matte, 'have your worships really seen 
all that?' 

'We have as good as seen it,' said the students. 'It 
is all printed in a book, and everything printed is true.' 

'I'm not so sure of that,' said Matte, as he shook his 

But the herring were now ready, and the students 
ate enough for six, and gave Prince some cold meat 
which they happened to have in the boat. Prince sat 
on his hind legs with delight and mewed like a pussy cat. 
When all was finished, the students handed Matte a 
shining silver coin, and allowed him to fill his pipe with 
a special kind of tobacco. They then thanked him for 
his kind hospitality and went on their journey, much 
regretted by Prince, who sat with a woeful expression 
and whined on the shore as long as he could see a flip 
of the boat's white sail in the distance. 

* Kalevala is a collection of old Finnish songs about gods and 


Maie had never uttered a word, but thought the 
more. She had good ears, and had laid to heart the 
story about Ahti. 'How delightful,' thought she to 
herself, ' to possess a fairy cow ! How delicious every 
morning and evening to draw milk from it, and yet 
have no trouble about the feeding, and to keep a shelf 
near the window for dishes of milk and junkets! But 
this will never be my luck.' 

' What are you thinking of ? ' asked Matte. 

'Nothing,' said his wife; but all the time she was 
pondering over some magic rhymes she had heard in 
her childhood from an old lame man, which were sup- 
posed to bring luck in fishing. 

' What if I were to try? ' thought she. 

Now this was Saturday, and on Saturday evenings 
Matte never set the herring-net, for he did not fish on 
Sunday. Towards evening, however, his wife said: 

'Let us set the herring-net just this once.' 

'No,' said her husband, 'it is a Saturday night.' 

'Last night was so stormy, and we caught so little,' 
urged his wife; 'to-night the sea is like a mirror, and 
with the wind in this direction the herring are drawing 
towards land.' 

'But there are streaks in the north-western sky, and 
Prince was eating grass this evening,' said the old 

'Surely he has not eaten my garlic,' exclaimed the 
old woman. 

'No; but there will be rough weather by to-morrow 
at sunset,' rejoined Matte. 

'Listen to me,' said his wife, 'we will set only one 
net close to the shore, and then we shall be able to finish 
up our half-filled cask, which will spoil if it stands open 
so long.' 

The old man allowed himself to be talked over, and 
so they rowed out with the net. When they reached 
the deepest part of the water, she began to hum the 


words of the magic rhyme, altering the words to suit 
the longings of her heart: 

Oh, Ahti, with the long, long beard, 

Who (hvcllest in the deep blue sea, 
Finest treasures have I heard, 

And glittering fish belong to thee. 
The richest pearls beyond compare 

Are stored up in thy realm below, 
And Ocean's cows so sleek and fair 

Feed on the grass in thy green meadow. 

King of the waters, far and near, 

I ask not of thy golden store, 
I wish not jewels of pearl to wear, 

Nor silver either, ask I for, 
But one is odd and even is two, 

So give me a cow, sea-king so bold, 
And in return I'll give to you 

A slice of the moon, and the sun's gold. 

'What's that you're humming?' asked the old 

'Oh, only the words of an old rhyme that keeps run- 
ning in my head,' answered the old woman; and she 
raised her voice and went on: 

Oh, Ahti, with the long, long beard, 

Who dwellest in the deep blue sea, 
A thousand cows are in thy herd, 

I pray thee give one unto me. 

'That's a stupid sort of song,' said Matte. 'What 
else should one beg of the sea-king but fish ? But such 
songs are not for Sunday.' 

His wife pretended not to hear him, and sang and 
sang the same tune all the time they were on the water. 
Matte heard nothing more as he sat and rowed the heavy 
boat, while thinking of his cracked pipe and the fine 
tobacco. Then they returned to the island, and soon 
after went to bed. 

But neither Matte nor Maie could sleep a wink; the 


one thought of how he had profaned Sunday, and the 
other of Ahti's cow. 

About midnight the fisherman sat up, and said to 
his wife: 

'Dost thou hear anything?' 

'No,' said' she. 

'I think the twirling of the weathercock on the roof 
bodes ill,' said he; 'we shall have a storm.' 

'Oh, it is nothing but your fancy,' said his wife. 

Matte lay down, but soon rose again. 

'The weathercock is squeaking now,' said he. 

'Just fancy! Go to sleep,' said his wife; and the 
old man tried to. 

For the third time he jumped out of bed. 

'Ho! how the weathercock is roaring at the pitch 
of its voice, as if it had a fire inside it! We are going to 
have a tempest, and must bring in the net.' 

Both rose. The summer night was as dark as if it 
had been October, the weathercock creaked, and the 
storm was raging in every direction. As they went out 
the sea lay around' them as white as snow, and the spray 
was dashing right over the fisher-hut. In all his 
life Matte had never remembered such a night. To 
launch the boat and put to sea to rescue the net 
was a thing not to be thought of. The fisherman 
and his wife stood aghast on the doorstep, holding on 
fast by the doorpost, while the foam splashed over 
their faces. 

'Did I not tell thee that there is no luck in Sunday 
fishing?' said Matte sulkily; and his wife was so 
frightened that she never even once thought of Ahti's 

As there was nothing to be done, they went in. 
Their eyes were heavy for. lack of slumber, and they 
slept as soundly as if there had not been such a thing 
as an angry sea roaring furiously around their lonely 
dwelling. When they awoke, the sun was high in the 


heavens, the tempest had ceased, and only the swell of 
the sea rose in silvery heavings against the red rock. 

' What can that be? ' said the old woman, as she peeped 
out of the door. 

'It looks like a big seal,' said Matte. 

'As sure as I live, it's a cow!' exclaimed Maie. And 

certainly it was a cow, a fine red cow, fat and flourish- 
ing, and looking as if it had been fed all its days on spinach. 
It wandered peacefully up and down the shore, and never 
so much as even looked at the poor little tufts of grass, 
as if it despised such fare. 

Matte could not believe his eyes. But a cow she 
seemed, and a cow she was found to be; and when the old 


woman began to milk her, every pitcher and pan, even 
to the baler, was soon filled with the most delicious 

The old man troubled his head in vain as to how she 
came there, and sallied forth to seek for his lost net. 
He had not proceeded far when he found it cast up on 
the shore, and so full of fish that not a mesh was visible. 

'It is all very fine to possess a cow,' said Matte, as 
he cleaned the fish; 'but what are we going to feed her 

'We shall find some means,' said his wife; and the 
cow found the means herself. She went out and 
cropped the seaweed which grew in great abundance 
near the shore, and always kept in good condition. 
Every one, Prince alone excepted, thought she was a 
clever beast; but Prince barked at her, for he had now 
got a rival. 

From that day the red rock overflowed with milk 
and junkets, and every net was filled with fish. Matte 
and Maie grew fat on this fine living, and daily became 
richer. She churned quantities of butter, and he hired 
two men to help him in his fishing. The sea lay before 
him like a big fish tank, out of which he hauled as many 
as he required; and the cow continued to fend for her- 
self. In autumn, when Matte and Maie went ashore, 
the cow went to sea, and in spring, when they returned 
to the rock, there she stood awaiting them. 

'We shall require a better house,' said Maie the fol- 
lowing summer; 'the old one is too small for ourselves 
and the men.' 

'Yes,' said Matte. So he built a large cottage, with 
a real lock to the door, and a store-house for fish as well; 
and he and his men caught such quantities of fish that 
they sent tons of salmon, herring, and cod to Russia 
and Sweden. 

'I am quite overworked with so many folk,' said Maie; 
'a girl to help me would not come amiss.' 


'Get one, then,' said her husband; and so they hired 
a girl. 

Then Maie said: 'We have too little milk for all these 
folk. Now that I have a servant, with the same amount 
of trouble she could look after three cows.' 

'All right, then,' said her husband, somewhat pro- 
voked, 'you can sing a song to the fairies.' 

This annoyed Maie, but nevertheless she rowed out 
to sea on Sunday night and sang as before: 

Oh, Ahti, with the long, long beard, 

Who dwellest in the deep blue sea, 
A thousand cows are in thy herd, 

I pray thee give three unto me. 

The following morning, instead of one, three cows stood 
on the island, and they all ate seaweed and fended for 
themselves like the first one. 

'Art thou satisfied now ?' said Matte to his wife. 

'I should be quite satisfied,' said his wife, 'if only I 
had two servants to help, and if I had some finer clothes. 
Don't you know that I am addressed as Madam ? ' 

'Well, well,' said her husband. So Maie got several 
servants, and clothes fit for a great lady. 

'Everything would now be perfect if only we had a 
little better dwelling for summer. You might build us 
a two-story house, and fetch soil to make a garden. 
Then you might make a little arbour up there to let us 
have a sea- view; and we might have a fiddler to fiddle 
to us of an evening, and a little steamer to take us to 
church in stormy weather.' 

'Anything more?' asked Matte; but he did every- 
thing that his wife wished. The rock Ahtola became so 
grand and Maie so great that all the sea-urchins and 
herring were lost in wonderment. Even Prince was fed 
on beefsteaks and cream scones till at last he was as 
round as a butter jar. 

' Are you satisfied now ? ' asked Matte. 


'I should be quite satisfied,' said Maie, 'if only I 
had thirty cows. At least that number is required for 
such a household.' 

'Go to the fairies,' said Matte. 

His wife set out in the new steamer and sang to the 
sea-king. Next morning thirty cows stood on the shore, 
all finding food for themselves. 

'Know'st thou, good man, that we are far too cramped 
on this wretched rock, and where am I to find room 
for so many cows? ' 

'There is nothing to be done but to pump out the 

'Rubbish!' said his wife. 'Who can pump out the 

'Try with thy new steamer, there is a pump 
in it.' 

Maie knew well that her husband was only making 
fun of her, but still her mind was set upon the same 
subject. 'I never could pump the sea out,' thought she, 
'but perhaps I might fill it up, if I were to make a big 
dam. I might heap up sand and stones, and make our 
island as big again.' 

Maie loaded her boat with stones and went out to 
sea. The fiddler was with her, and fiddled so finely that 
Ahti and Wellamos and all the sea's daughters rose to 
the surface of the water to listen to the music. 

' What is that shining so brightly in the waves? ' asked 

'That is sea foam glinting in the sunshine,' answered 
the fiddler. 

'Throw out the stones,' said Maie. 

The people in the boat began to throw out the stones, 
splash, splash, right and left, into the foam. One stone 
hit the nose of Wellamos's chief lady-in-waiting, another 
scratched the sea queen herself on the cheek, a third 
plumped close to Ahti's head and tore off half of the 
sea-king's beard; then there was a commotion in the 


sea, the waves bubbled and bubbled like boiling water 
in a pot. 

'Whence comes this gust of wind?' said Maie; and 
as she spoke the sea opened and swallowed up the 
steamer. Maie sank to the bottom like a stone, but, 
stretching out her arms and legs, she rose to the sur- 
face, where she found the fiddler's fiddle, and used it 
as a float. At the same moment she saw close beside 
her the terrible head of Ahti, and he had only half a 
beard ! 

'Why did you throw stones at me?' roared the sea- 

'Oh, your majesty, it was a mistake! Put some 
bear's grease on your beard and that will soon make it 
grow again.' 

'Dame, did I not give you all you asked for nay, 
even more ? ' 

'Truly, truly, your majesty. Many thanks for the 

'Well, where is the gold from the sun and the silver 
from the moon that you promised me?' 

'Ah, your majesty, they have been scattered day 
and night upon the sea, except when the sky was over- 
cast,' slyly answered Maie. 

Til teach you!' roared the sea-king; and with that 
he gave the fiddle such a ' puff' that it sent the old woman 
up like a sky-rocket on to her island. There Prince lay, 
as famished as ever, gnawing the carcase of a crow. 
There sat Matte in his ragged grey jacket, quite alone, 
on the steps of the old hut, mending a net. 

'Heavens, mother,' said he, 'where are you coming 
from at such a whirlwind pace, and what makes you in 
such a dripping condition ? ' 

Maie looked around her amazed, and said, 'Where 
is our two-story house?' 

'What house?' asked her husband. 

'Our big house, and the flower garden, and the men 


and the maids, and the thirty beautiful cows, and the 
steamer, and everything else?' 

'You are talking nonsense, mother,' said he. 'The 
students have quite turned your head, for you sang silly 
songs last evening while we were rowing, and then you 
could not sleep till early morning. We had stormy 
weather during the night, and when it was past I did 
not wish to waken you, so rowed out alone to rescue the 

'But I've seen Ahti,' rejoined Maie. 

'You've been lying in bed, dreaming foolish fancies, 
mother, and then in your sleep you walked into the 

'But there is the fiddle,' said Maie. 

'A fine fiddle! It is only an old stick. No, no, old 
woman, another time we will be more careful. Good 
luck never attends fishing on a Sunday.' 

From Z. Topelius. 


THEW!' cried Lisa. 

'Ugh!' cried Aina. 

' What now? ' cried the big sister. 

'A worm!' cried Lisa. 

'On the raspberry!' cried Aina. 

'Kill it!' cried Otto. 

'What a fuss over a poor little worm!' said the big 
sister scornfully. 

'Yes, when we had cleaned the raspberries so care- 
fully,' said Lisa. 

'It crept out from that very large one,' put in Aina. 

'And supposing some one had eaten the raspberry,' 
said Lisa. 

'Then they would have eaten the worm, too,' said 

'Well, what harm?' said Otto. 

'Eat a worm!' cried Lisa. 

'And kill him with one bite!' murmured Aina. 

'Just think of it!' said Otto laughing. 

'Now it is crawling on the table,' cried Aina again. 

'Blow it away!' said the big sister. 

'Tramp on it!' laughed Otto. 

But Lisa took a raspberry leaf, swept the worm care- 
fully on to the leaf and carried it out into the yard. 
Then Aina noticed that a sparrow sitting on the fence 
was just getting ready to pounce on the poor little worm, 
so she took up the leaf, carried it out into the wood and 
hid it under a raspberry bush where the greedy sparrow 


could not find it. Yes, and what more is there to tell 
about a raspberry worm ? Who would give three straws 
for such a miserable little thing? Yes, but who would 
not like to live in such a pretty home as it lives in; in 
such a fresh fragrant dark-red cottage, far away in the 
quiet wood among flowers and green leaves! 

Now it was just dinner time, so they all had a dinner 
of raspberries and cream. 'Be careful with the sugar, 
Otto,' said the big sister; but Otto's plate was like a 
snowdrift in winter, with just a little red under the 

Soon after dinner the big sister said: 'Now we have 
eaten up the raspberries and we have none left to make 
preserve for the winter; it would be fine if we could get 
two baskets full of berries, then we could clean them this 
evening, and to-morrow we could cook them in the big 
preserving pan, and then we should have raspberry 
jam to eat on our bread!' 

'Come, let us go to the wood and pick,' said Lisa. 

'Yes, let us,' said Aina. 'You take the yellow basket 
and I will take the green one.' 

'Don't get lost, and come back safely in the evening,' 
said the big sister. 

'Greetings to the raspberry worm,' said Otto, mock- 
ingly. ' Next time I meet him I shall do him the honour 
of eating him up.' 

So Aina and Lisa went off to the wood. Ah! how 
delightful it was there, how beautiful! It was certainly 
tiresome sometimes climbing over the fallen trees, and 
getting caught in the branches, and waging war with 
the juniper bushes and the midges, but what did that 
matter? The girls climbed well in their short dresses, 
and soon they were deep in the wood. 

There were plenty of bilberries and elder berries, but 
no raspberries. They wandered on and on, and at last 
they came . . . No, it could not be true! . . . they came 
to a large raspberry wood. The wood had been on 


fire once, and now raspberry bushes had grown up, and 
there were raspberry bushes and raspberry bushes as far 
as the eye could see. Every bush was weighed to the 
ground with the largest, dark red, ripe raspberries, such 
a wealth of berries as two little berry pickers had never 
found before! 

Lisa picked, Aina picked. Lisa ate, Aina ate, and in 
a little while their baskets were full. 

'Now, we shall go home,' said Aina. 'No, let us 
gather a few more,' said Lisa. So they put the baskets 
down on the ground and began to fill their pinafores, 
and it was not long before their pinafores were full, too. 

'Now we shall go home,' said Lisa. 'Yes, now we 
shall go home,' said Aina. Both girls took a basket in 
one hand and held up her apron in the other and then 
turned to go home. But that was easier said than done. 
They had never been so far in the great wood before, 
they could not find any road nor path, and soon the 
girls noticed that they had lost their way. 

The worst of it was that the shadows of the trees 
were becoming so long in the evening sunlight, the birds 
were beginning to fly home, and the day was closing in. 
At last the sun went down behind the pine tops, and it 
was cool and dusky in the great wood. 

The girls became anxious but went steadily on, 
expecting that the wood would soon end, and that 
they would see the smoke from the chimneys of their 

After they had wandered on for a long time it began 
to grow dark. At last they reached a great plain over- 
grown with bushes, and when they looked around them, 
they saw, as much as they could in the darkness, that 
they were among the same beautiful raspberry bushes 
from which they had picked their baskets and their 
aprons full. Then they were so tired that they sat down 
on a stone and began to cry. 

'I am so hungry,' said Lisa. 


' Yes, ' said Aina, ' if we had only two good meat sand- 
wiches now.' 

As she said that, she felt something in her hand, and 
when she looked down, she saw a large sandwich of 
bread and chicken, and' at the same time Lisa said: 
'How very queer! I have a sandwich in my hand.' 

'And I, too,' said Aina. 'Will you dare to eat it?' 

'Of course I will,' said Lisa. 'Ah, if we only had a 
good glass of milk now ! ' 

Just as she said that she felt a large glass of milk 
between her fingers, and at the same time Aina cried 
out, 'Lisa! Lisa! I have a glass of milk in my hand! 
Isn't it queer ? ' 

The girls, however, were very hungry, so they ate and 
drank with a good appetite. When they had finished 
Aina yawned, stretched out her arms and said: 'Oh, if 
only we had a nice soft bed to sleep on now ! ' 

Scarcely had she spoken before she felt a nice soft 
bed by her side, and there beside Lisa was one too. This 
seemed to the girls more and more wonderful, but tired 
and sleepy as they were, they thought no more about 
it, but crept into the little beds, drew the coverlets over 
their heads and were soon asleep. 

When they awoke the sun was high in the heavens, 
the wood was beautiful in the summer morning, and the 
birds were flying about in the branches and the tree 

At first the girls were filled with wonder when they 
saw that they had slept in the wood among the rasp- 
berry bushes. They looked at each other, they looked 
at their beds, which were of the finest flax covered over 
with leaves and moss. At last Lisa said : ' Are you awake, 
Aina? ' 

'Yes,' said Aina. 

'But I am still dreaming,' said Lisa. 

'No,' said Aina, 'but there is certainly some good 
fairy living among these raspberry bushes. Ah, if we 


had only a hot cup of coffee now, and a nice piece of 
white bread to dip into it!' 

Scarcely had she finished speaking when she saw 
beside her a little silver tray with a gilt coffee-pot, two 
cups of rare porcelain, a sugar basin of fine crystal, silver 
sugar tongs, and some good fresh white bread. The 
girls poured out the beautiful coffee, put in the cream 


and sugar, and tasted it; never in their lives had they 
drunk such beautiful coffee. 

'Now I should like to know very much who has given 
us all this,' said Lisa gratefully. 

'I have, my little girls,' said a voice just then from 
the bushes. 

The children looked round wonderingly, and saw a 


little kind-looking old man, in a white coat and a red 
cap, limping out from among the bushes, for he was lame 
in his left foot; neither Lisa nor Aina could utter a word, 
they were so filled with surprise. 

'Don't be afraid, little girls,' he said smiling kindly at 
them; he could not laugh properly because his mouth 
was crooked. 'Welcome to my kingdom! Have you 
slept well and eaten well and drunk well?' he asked. 

'Yes, indeed we have/ said both the girls, 'but tell 
us . . . ' and they wanted to ask who the old man was, 
but were afraid to. 

'I will tell you who I am,' said the old man; 'I am 
the raspberry king, who reigns over all this kingdom of 
raspberry bushes, and I have lived here for more than a 
thousand years. But the great spirit who rules over the 
woods, and the sea, and the sky, did not want me to 
become proud of my royal power and my long life. There- 
fore he decreed that one day in every hundred years I 
should change into a little raspberry worm, and live 
in that weak and helpless form from sunrise till sunset. 
During that time my life is dependent on the little worm's 
life, so that a bird can eat me, a child can pick me with 
the berries and trample under foot my thousand years 
of life. Now yesterday was just my transformation day, 
and I was taken with the raspberry and would have 
been trampled to death if you had not saved my life. 
Until sunset I lay helpless in the grass, and when I was 
swept away from your table I twisted one of my feet, 
and my mouth became crooked with terror; but when 
evening came and I could take my own form again, I 
looked for you to thank you and reward you. Then I 
found you both here in my kingdom, and tried to meet 
you both as well as I could without frightening you. 
Now I will send a bird from my wood to show you the 
way home. Good-bye, little children, thank you for 
your kind hearts; the raspberry king can show that he 
is not ungrateful.' The children shook hands with the 


old man and thanked him, feeling very glad that they 
had saved the little raspberry worm. They were just 
going when the old man turned round, smiled mischiev- 
ously with his crooked mouth, and said: 'Greetings to 
Otto from me, and tell him when I meet him again I 
shall do him the honour of eating him up.' 

'Oh, please don't do that,' cried both the girls, very 

'Well, for your sake I will forgive him,' said the old 
man, 'I am not revengeful. Greetings to Otto and tell 
him that he may expect a gift from me, too. Good- 

The two girls, light of heart, now took their berries 
and ran off through the wood after the bird; and soon 
it began to get lighter in the wood and they wondered 
how they could have lost their way yesterday, it seemed 
so easy and plain now. 

One can imagine what joy there was when the two 
reached home. Everyone had been looking for them, 
and the big sister had not been able to sleep, for she 
thought the wolves had eaten them up. 

Otto met them ; he had a basket in his hand and said : 
'Look, here is something that an old man has just left 
for you.' 

When the girls looked into the basket they saw a 
pair of most beautiful bracelets of precious stones, dark 
red, and made in the shape of a ripe raspberry and with 
an inscription: 'To Lisa and Aina'; beside them there 
was a diamond breast pin in the shape of a raspberry 
worm: on it was inscribed 'Otto, never destroy the 
helpless ! ' 

Otto felt rather ashamed: he quite understood what 
it meant, but he thought that the old man's revenge was 
a noble one. 

The raspberry king had also remembered the big 
sister, for when she went in to set the table for dinner, 
she found eleven big baskets of most beautiful raspberries, 


and no one knew how they had come there, but every- 
one guessed. 

And so there was such a jam-making as had never 
been seen before, and if you like to go and help in it, you 
might perhaps get a little, for they must surely be making 
jam still to this very day. 

From Z. Topelius. 


PERHAPS some of you may have read a book called ' Ken- 
neth; or the Rear-Guard of the Grand Army of 
Napoleon.' If so, you will remember how the two 
Scotch children found in Russia were taken care of by 
the French soldiers and prevented as far as possible 
from suffering from the horrors of the terrible Retreat. 
One of the soldiers, a Breton, often tried to make them 
forget how cold and hungry they were by telling them 
tales of his native country, Brittany, which is full of 
wonderful things. The best and warmest place round 
the camp fire was always given to the children, but 
even so the bitter frost would cause them to shiver. 
It was then that the Breton would begin: 'Plouhinec 
is a small town near Hennebonne by the sea,' and 
would continue until Kenneth or Effie would inter- 
rupt him with an eager question. Then he forgot 
how his mother had told him the tale, and was obliged 
to begin all over again, so the story lasted a long while, 
and by the time it was ended the children were ready 
to be rolled up in whatever coverings could be found, 
and go to sleep. 

It is this story that I am going to tell to you. 

Plouhinec is a small town near Hennebonne by the 
sea. Around it stretches a desolate moor, where no corn 
can be grown, and the grass is so coarse that no beast 
grows fat on it. Here and there are scattered groves 
of fir trees, and small pebbles are so thick on the ground 


that you might almost take it for a beach. On the 
further side, the fairies, or korigans, as the people called 
them, had set up long long ago two rows of huge stones; 
indeed, so tall and heavy were they, that it seemed as if 
all the fairies in the world could not have placed them 

Not far off from this great stone avenue, and on the 
banks of the little river Intel, there lived a man named 
Marzinne and his sister Rozennik. They always had 
enough black bread to eat, and wooden shoes or sabots 
to wear, and a pig to fatten, so the neighbours thought 
them quite rich; and what was still better, they thought 
themselves rich also. 

Rozennik was a pretty girl, who knew how to make 
the best of everything, and she could, if she wished, 
have chosen a husband from the young men of Plou- 
hinec, but she cared for none of them except Bernez, 
whom she had played with all her life, and Bernez, though 
he worked hard, was so very very poor that Marzinne 
told him roughly he must look elsewhere for a wife. 
But whatever Marzinne might say Rozennik smiled 
and nodded to him as before, and would often turn 
her head as she passed, and sing snatches of old songs 
over her shoulder. 

Christmas Eve had come, and all the men who worked 
under Marzinne or on the farms round about were 
gathered in the large kitchen to eat the soup flavoured 
with honey followed by rich puddings, to which they 
were always invited on this particular night. In the 
middle of the table was a large wooden bowl, with 
wooden spoons placed in a circle round it, so that 
each might dip in his turn. The benches were filled, 
and Marzinne was about to give the signal, when the 
door was suddenly thrown open, and an old man came 
in, wishing the guests a good appetite for their supper. 
There was a pause, and some of the faces looked a little 


frightened; for the new comer was well known to them 
as a beggar, who was also said to be a wizard who cast 
spells over the cattle, and caused the corn to grow black, 
and old people to die, of what, nobody knew. Still, 
it was Christmas Eve, and besides it was as well not 
to offend him, so the farmer invited him in, and gave 
him a seat at the table and a wooden spoon like the 

There was not much talk after the beggar's entrance, 
and everyone was glad when the meal came to an end, 
and the beggar asked if he might sleep in the stable, as 
he should die of cold if he were left outside. Rather 
unwillingly Marzinne gave him leave, and bade Bernez 
take the key and unlock the door. There was certainly 
plenty of room for a dozen beggars, for the only occu- 
pants of the stable were an old donkey and a thin ox; 
and as the night was bitter, the wizard lay down between 
them for warmth, with a sack of reeds for a pillow. 

He had walked far that day, and even wizards get 
tired sometimes, so in spite of the hard floor he was just 
dropping off to sleep, when midnight struck from the 
church tower of Plouhinec. At this sound the donkey 
raised her head and shook her ears, and turned towards 
the ox. 

'Well, my dear cousin,' said she, 'and how have you 
fared since last Christmas Eve, when we had a conversa- 
tion together?' 

Instead of answering at once, the ox eyed the beggar 
with a long look of disgust. 

'What is the use of talking,' he replied roughly, 'when 
a good-for-nothing creature like that can hear all we 

'Oh, you mustn't lose time in grumbling,' rejoined 
the donkey gaily, 'and don't you see that the wizard is 
asleep ? ' 

'His wicked pranks do not make him rich, certainly,' 
said the ox, 'and he isn't even clever enough to have 


found out what a piece of luck might befall him a week 

' What piece of luck ? ' asked the donkey. 

'Why, don't you know,' inquired the ox, 'that once 
every hundred years the stones on Plouhinec heath 
go down to drink at the river, and that while they are 
away the treasures underneath them are uncovered?' 

'Ah, I remember now,' replied the donkey, 'but the 
stones return so quickly to their places, that you certainly 
would be crushed to death unless you have in your hands 
a bunch of crowsfoot and of five-leaved trefoil.' 

'Yes, but that is not enough,' said the ox; 'even sup- 
posing you get safely by, the treasures you have brought 
with you will crumble into dust if you do not give in 
exchange a baptized soul. It is needful that a Christian 
should die before you can enjoy the wealth of Plouhinec.' 

The donkey was about to ask some further questions, 
when she suddenly found herself unable to speak: the 
time allowed them for conversation was over. 

'Ah, my dear creatures,' thought the beggar, who 
had of course heard everything, 'you are going to make 
me richer than the richest men of Vannes or Lorient. 
But I have no time to lose; to-morrow I must begin to 
hunt for the precious plants.' 

He did not dare to seek too near Plouhinec, lest some- 
body who knew the story might guess what he was, 
doing, so he went away further towards the south, 
where the air was softer and the plants are always 
green. From the instant it was light, till the last rays 
had faded out of the sky, he searched every inch of ground 
where the magic plants might grow; he scarcely gave 
himself a minute to eat and drink, but at length he found 
the crowsfoot in a little hollow! Well, that was cer- 
tainly a great deal, but after all, the crowsfoot was of 
no use without the trefoil, and there was so little time 


He had almost given up hope, when on the very last 
day before it was necessary that he should start for 
Plouhinec, he came upon a little clump of trefoil, half 
hidden under a rock. Hardly able to breathe from 
excitement, he sat down and hunted eagerly through 
the plant which he had torn up. Leaf after leaf he 
threw aside in disgust, and he had nearly reached the 
end when he gave a cry of joy --the five-leaved trefoil 
was in his hand. 

The beggar scrambled to his feet, and without a pause 
walked quickly down the road that led northwards. 
The moon was bright, and for some hours he kept steadily 
on, not knowing how many miles he had gone, nor even 
feeling tired. By and bye the sun rose, and the world 
began to stir, and stopping at a farmhouse door, he asked 
for a cup of milk and slice of bread and permission to 
rest for a while in the porch. Then he continued his 
journey, and so, towards sunset on New Year's Eve, he 
came back to Plouhinec. 

As he was passing the long line of stones, he saw Ber- 
nez working with a chisel on the tallest of them all. 

'What are you doing there?' called the wizard, 'do 
you mean to hollow out for yourself a bed in that huge 
column ? ' 

'No,' replied Bernez quietly, 'but as I happened to 
have no work to do to-day, I thought I would just carve 
a cross on this stone. The holy sign can never come amiss.' 

'I believe you think it will help you to win Rozennik,' 
laughed the old man. 

Bernez ceased his task for a moment to look at him. 

'Ah, so you know about that,' replied he; 'unluckily 
Marzinne wants a brother-in-law who has more pounds 
than I have pence.' 

'And suppose I were to give you more pounds than 
Marzinne ever dreamed of?' whispered the sorcerer, 
glancing round to make sure that no one overheard him. 



'Yes, I.' 

'And what am I to do to gain the money,' inquired 
Bernez, who knew quite well that the Breton peasant 
gives nothing for nothing. 

'What I want of you only needs a little courage,' 
answered the old man. 

'If that is all, tell me what I have got to do, and I 
will do it,' cried Bernez, letting fall his chisel. 'If I 
have to risk thirty deaths, I am ready.' 

When the beggar knew that Bernez would give him 
no trouble, he told him how, during that very night, 
the treasures under the stones would be uncovered, and 
how in a very few minutes they could take enough to 
make them both rich for life. But he kept silence as to 
the fate that awaited the man who was without the 
crowsfoot and the trefoil, and Bernez thought that 
nothing but boldness and quickness were necessary. So 
he said: 

'Old man, I am grateful, indeed, for the chance you 
have given me, and there will always be a pint of my 
blood at your service. Just let me finish carving this 
cross. It is nearly done, and I will join you in the fir 
wood at whatever hour you please.' 

'You must be there without fail an hour before mid- 
night,' answered the wizard, and went on his way. 

As the hour struck from the great church at Plou- 
hinec, Bernez entered the wood. He found the beggar 
already there with a bag in each hand, and a third slung 
round his neck. 

'You are punctual,' said the old man, 'but we need 
not start just yet. You had better sit down and think 
what you will do when your pockets are filled with gold 
and silver and jewels.' 

'Oh, it won't take me long to plan out that,' returned 
Bernez with a laugh. 'I shall give Rozennik everything 


she can desire, dresses of all sorts, from cotton to silk, 
and good things of all kinds to eat, from white bread to 

'The silver you find will pay for all that, and what 
about the gold? ' 

'With the gold I shall make rich Rozennik's relations 
and every friend of hers in the parish,' replied he. 

'So much for the gold; and the jewels?' 

'Then,' cried Bernez, 'I will divide the jewels amongst 
everybody in the world, so that they may be wealthy 
and happy; and I will tell them that it is Rozennik who 
would have it so.' 

'Hush! it is close on midnight --we must go,' whis- 
pered the wizard, and together they crept to the edge 
of the wood. 

With the first stroke of twelve a great noise arose 
over the silent heath, and the earth seemed to rock under 
the feet of the two watchers. The next moment by the 
light of the moon they beheld the huge stones near them 
leave their places and go down the slope leading to the 
river, knocking against each other in their haste. Pass- 
ing the spot where stood Bernez and the beggar, they 
were lost in the darkness. It seemed as if a procession 
of giants had gone by. 

'Quick,' said the wizard, in a low voice, and he rushed 
towards the empty holes, which even in the night shone 
brightly from the treasures within them. Flinging him- 
self on his knees, the old man began filling the wallets 
he had brought, listening intently all the time for the 
return of the stones up the hill, while Bernez more slowly 
put handfuls of all he could see into his pockets. 

The sorcerer had just closed his third wallet, and was 
beginning to wonder if he could carry away any more 
treasures when a low murmur as of a distant storm 
broke upon his ears. 

The stones had finished drinking, and were hastening 
back to their places. 


On they came, bent a little forward, the tallest of 
them all at their head, breaking everything that stood 
in their way. At the sight Bernez stood transfixed with 
horror, and said, 

'We are lost! They will crush us to death.' 

'Not me!' answered the sorcerer, holding up the crows- 
foot and the five-leaved trefoil, 'for these will preserve 
me. But in order to keep my riches, I was obliged to 
sacrifice a Christian to the stones, and an evil fate threw 
you in my way.' And as he spoke he stretched out 
the magic herbs to the stones, which were advancing 
rapidly. As if acknowledging a power greater than 
theirs, the monstrous things instantly parted to the 
right and left of the wizard, but closed their ranks again 
as they approached Bernez. 

The young man did not try to escape, he knew it was 
useless, and sank on his knees and closed his eyes. But 
suddenly the tall stone that was leading stopped straight 
in front of Bernez, so that no other could get past. 

It was the stone on which Bernez had carved the 
cross, and it was now a baptized stone, and had power 
to save him. 

So the stone remained before the young man till the 
rest had taken their places, and then, darting like a bird 
to its own hole, came upon the beggar, who, thinking 
himself quite safe, was staggering along under the weight 
of his treasures. 

Seeing the stone approaching, he held out the magic 
herbs which he carried, but the baptized stone was no 
longer subject to the spells that bound the rest, and 
passed straight on its way, leaving the wizard crushed 
into powder in the heather. 

Then Bernez went home, and showed his wealth to 
Marzinne, who this time did not refuse him as a brother- 
in-law, and he and Rozennik were married, and lived 
happy for ever after. 

From 'Le Foyer Breton,' par Emile Souvestre. 


PERONNIK was a poor idiot who belonged to nobody, 
and he would have died of starvation if it had not been 
for the kindness of the village people, who gave him 
food whenever he chose to ask for it. And as for a 
bed, when night came, and he grew sleepy, he looked 
about for a heap of straw, and making a hole in it, crept 
in, like a lizard. Idiot though he was, he was 
never unhappy, but always thanked gratefully those 
who fed him, and sometimes would stop for a little 
and sing to them. For he could imitate a lark so well, 
that no one knew which was Peronnik and which was 
the bird. 

He had been wandering in a forest one day for several 
hours, and when evening approached, he suddenly felt 
very hungry. Luckily, just at that place the trees 
grew thinner, and he could see a small farmhouse a 
little way off. Peronnik went straight towards it, and 
found the farmer's wife standing at the door holding 
in her hands the large bowl out of which her children 
had eaten their supper. 

'I am hungry, will you give me something to eat?' 
asked the boy. 

'If you can find anything here, you are welcome to 
it,' answered she, and, indeed, there was not much left, 
as everybody's spoon had dipped in. But Peronnik 
ate what was there with a hearty appetite, and thought 
that he had never tasted better food. 

'It is made of the finest flour and mixed with the 


richest milk and stirred by the best cook in all the coun- 
tryside,' and though he said it to himself, the woman 
heard him. 

'Poor innocent,' she murmured, 'he does not know 
what he is saying, but I will cut him a slice of that new 
wheaten loaf,' and so she did, and Peronnik ate up every 
crumb, and declared that nobody less than the bishop's 
baker could have baked it. This flattered the farmer's 
wife so much that she gave him some butter to spread 
on it, and Peronnik was still eating it on the doorstep 
when an armed knight rode up. 

'Can you tell me the way to the castle of Kerglas?' 
asked he. 

'To Kerglas? are you really going to Kerglas?' cried 
the woman, turning pale. 

'Yes; and in order to get there I have come from a 
country so far off that it has taken me three months' 
hard riding to travel as far as this.' 

'And why do you want to go to Kerglas?' said 

'I am seeking the basin of gold and the lance of 
diamonds which are in the castle,' he answered. Then 
Peronnik looked up. 

'The basin and the lance are very costly things,' he 
said suddenly. 

'More costly and precious than all the crowns in 
the world,' replied the stranger, 'for not only will the 
basin furnish you with the best food that you can 
dream of, but if you drink of it, it will cure you of any 
illness however dangerous, and will even bring the 
dead back to life, if it touches their mouths. As to the 
diamond lance, that will cut through any stone or 

'And to whom do these wonders belong?' asked Peron- 
nik in amazement. 

'To a magician named Rogear who lives in the castle,' 
answered the woman. 'Every day he passes along 


here, mounted on a black mare, with a colt thirteen 
months old trotting behind. But no one dares to attack 
him, as he always carries his lance.' 

'That is true,' said the knight, 'but there is a spell 
laid upon him which forbids his using it within the castle 
of Kerglas. The moment he enters, the basin and lance 
are put away in a dark cellar which no key but one can 
open. And that is the place where I wish to fight the 

'You will never overcome him, Sir Knight,' replied 
the woman, shaking her head. 'More than a hundred 
gentlemen have ridden past this house bent on the same 
errand, and not one has ever come back.' 

'I know that, good woman,' returned the knight, 
'but then they did not have, like me, instructions from 
the hermit of Blavet.' 

'And what did the hermit tell you?' asked Peron- 

'He told me that I should have to pass through a 
wood full of all sorts of enchantments and voices, which 
would try to frighten me and make me lose my way. 
Most of those who have gone before me have wandered 
they know not where, and perished from cold, hunger, 
or fatigue.' 

'Well, suppose you get through safely?' said the 

'If I do,' continued the knight, 'I shall then meet 
a sort of fairy armed with a needle of fire which burns 
to ashes all it touches. This dwarf stands guarding an 
apple-tree, from which I am bound to pluck an apple.' 

'And next?' inquired Peronnik. 

'Next I shall find the flower that laughs, protected 
by a lion whose mane is formed of vipers. I must pluck 
that flower, and go on to the lake of the dragons and 
fight the black man who holds in his hand the iron ball 
which never misses its mark and returns of its own 
accord to its master. After that, I enter the valley of 


pleasure, where some who conquered all the other ob- 
stacles have left their bones. If I can win through 
this, I shall reach a river with only one ford, where a 
lady in black will be seated. She will mount my horse 
behind me, and tell me what I am to do next.' 

He paused, and the woman shook her head. 

'You will never be able to do all that,' said she, but 
he bade her remember that these were only matters 
for men, and galloped away down the path she pointed 

The farmer's wife sighed and, giving Peronnik some 
more food, bade him good-night. The idiot rose and 
was opening the gate which led into the forest when 
the farmer himself came up. 

'I want a boy to tend my cattle,' he said abruptly, 
'as the one I had has run away. Will you stay and 
do it?' and Peronnik, though he loved his liberty and 
hated work, recollected the good food he had eaten, 
and agreed to stop. 

At sunrise he collected his herd carefully and led 
them to the rich pasture which lay along the borders 
of the forest, cutting himself a hazel wand with which 
to keep them in order. 

His task was not quite so easy as it looked, for the 
cows had a way of straying into the wood, and by the 
time he had brought one back another was off. He 
had gone some distance into the trees, after a naughty 
black cow which gave him more trouble than all the 
rest, when he heard the noise of horse's feet, and peeping 
through the leaves he beheld the giant Rogear seated 
on his mare, with the colt trotting behind. Round the 
giant's neck hung the golden bowl suspended from a 
chain, and in his hand he grasped the diamond lance, 
which gleamed like fire. But as soon as he was out of 
sight the idiot sought in vain for traces of the path he 
had taken. 


This happened not only once but many times, till 
Peronnik grew so used to him that he never troubled to 
hide. But on each occasion he saw him the desire to 
possess the bowl and the lance became stronger. 

One evening the boy was sitting alone on the edge 
of the forest, when a man with a white beard stopped 
beside him. 'Do you want to know the way to Ker- 
glas?' asked the idiot, and the man answered 'I know 
it well.' 

'You have been there without being killed by the 
magician? ' cried Peronnik. 

'Oh! he had nothing to fear from me,' replied the 
white-bearded man, '1 am Rogear's elder brother, the 
wizard Bryak. When I wish to visit him I always pass 
this way, and as even I cannot go through the 
enchanted wood without losing myself, I call the colt 
to guide me.' Stooping down as he spoke he traced 
three circles on the ground and murmured some words 
very low, which Peronnik could not hear. Then he 
added aloud: 

Colt, free to run and free to eat, 
Colt, gallop fast until we meet, 

and instantly the colt appeared, frisking and jumping 
to the wizard, who threw a halter over his neck and 
leapt on his back. 

Peronnik kept silence at the farm about this adven- 
ture, but he understood very well that if he was 
ever to get to Kerglas he must first catch the colt 
which knew the way. Unhappily he had not heard the 
magic words uttered by the wizard, and he could not 
manage to draw the three circles, so if he was to summon 
the colt at all he must invent some other means of doing 

All day long, while he was herding the cows, he thought 
and thought how he was to call the colt, for he felt sure 


that once on its back he could overcome the other dan- 
gers. Meantime he must be ready in case a chance 
should come, and he made his preparations at night, 
when every one was asleep. Remembering what he 
had seen the wizard do, he patched up an old halter 
that was hanging in a corner of the stable, twisted a 
rope of hemp to catch the colt's feet, and a net such 
as is used for snaring birds. Next he sewed roughly 
together some bits of cloth to serve as a pocket, and 
this he filled with glue and larks' feathers, a string of 
beads, a whistle of elder wood, and a slice of bread rubbed 
over with bacon fat. Then he went out to the path 
down which Rogear, his mare, and the colt always rode, 
and crumbled the bread on one side of it. 

Punctual to their hour all three appeared, eagerly 
watched by Peronnik, who lay hid in the bushes close 
by. Suppose it was useless; suppose the mare, and not 
the colt, ate the crumbs? Suppose --but no! the mare 
and her rider went safely by, vanishing round a corner, 
while the colt, trotting along with its head on the ground, 
smelt the bread, and began greedily to lick up the pieces. 
Oh, how good it was! Why had no one ever given it 
that before, and so absorbed was the little beast, sniffing 
about after a few more crumbs, that it never heard 
Peronnik creep up till it felt the halter on its neck and 
the rope round its feet, and - - in another moment - 
some one on its back. 

Going as fast as the hobbles would allow, the colt 
turned into one of the wildest parts of the forest, while 
its rider sat trembling at the strange sights he saw. 
Sometimes the earth seemed to open in front of them 
and he was looking into a bottomless pit; sometimes 
the trees burst into flames and he found himself in the 
midst of a fire; often in the act of crossing a stream the 
water rose and threatened to sweep him away; and 
again, at the foot of a mountain, great rocks would 
roll towards him, as if they would crush him and his 


colt beneath their weight. To his dying day Peronnik 
never knew whether these things were real or if he only 
imagined them, but he pulled down his knitted cap 
so as to cover his eyes, and trusted the colt to carry 
him down the right road. 

At last the forest was left behind, and they came 
out on a wide plain where the air blew fresh and strong. 
The idiot ventured to peep out, and found to his relief 
that the enchantments seemed to have ended, though 
a thrill of horror shot through him as he noticed the 
skeletons of men scattered over the plain, beside the 
skeletons of their horses. And what were those grey 
forms trotting away in the distance? Were they 
could they be wolves ? 

But vast though the plain seemed, it did not take 
long to cross, and very soon the colt entered a sort of 
shady park in which was standing a single apple-tree, 
its branches bowed down to the ground with the weight 
of its fruit. In front was the korigan the little fairy 
man - - holding in his hand the fiery sword, which 
reduced to ashes everything it touched. At the sight 
of Peronnik he uttered a piercing scream, and raised 
his sword, but without appearing surprised the youth 
only lifted his cap, though he took care to remain at 
a little distance. 

'Do not be alarmed, my prince,' said Peronnik, 'I 
am just on my way to Kerglas, as the noble Rogear 
has begged me to come to him on business.' 

'Begged you to come!' repeated the dwarf, 'and who, 
then, are you? ' 

'I am the new servant he has engaged, as you know 
very well,' answered Peronnik. 

'I do not know at all,' rejoined the korigan sulkily, 
'and you may be a robber for all I can tell.' 

'I am so sorry,' replied Peronnik, 'but I may be 
wrong in calling myself a servant, for I am only a 
bird-catcher. But do not delay me, I pray, for his 


highness the magician expects me, and, as you see, has 
lent me his colt so that I may reach the castle all the 

At these words the korigan cast his eyes for the first 
time on the colt, which he knew to be the one belong- 
ing to the magician, and began to think that the young 
man was speaking the truth. After examining the 
horse, he studied the rider, who had such an innocent, 
and indeed vacant, air that he appeared incapable of 
inventing a story. Still, the dwarf did not feel quite 
sure that all was right, and asked what the magician 
wanted with a bird-catcher. 

'From what he says, he wants one very badly,' 
replied Peronnik, 'as he declares that all his grain and 
all the fruit in his garden at Kerglas are eaten up by 
the birds.' 

'And how are you going to stop that, my fine fellow?' 
inquired the korigan; and Peronnik showed him the 
snare he had prepared, and remarked that no bird could 
possibly escape from it. 

'That is just what I should like to be sure of,' 
answered the korigan. 'My apples are completely 
eaten up by blackbirds and thrushes. Lay your snare, 
and if you can manage to catch them, I will let you 

'That is a fair bargain,' and as he spoke Peronnik 
jumped down and fastened his colt to a tree; then, stoop- 
ing, he fixed one end of the net to the trunk of the apple- 
tree, and called to the korigan to hold the other while 
he took out the pegs. The dwarf did as he was bid, 
when suddenly Peronnik threw the noose over his neck 
and drew it close, and the korigan was held as fast as 
any of the birds he wished to snare. 

Shrieking with rage, he tried to undo the cord, but 
he only pulled the knot tighter. He had put down the 
sword on the grass, and Peronnik had been careful to 
fix the net on the other side of the tree, so that it was 


now easy for him to pluck an apple and to mount his 
horse, without being hindered by the dwarf, whom he 
left to his fate. 

When they had left the plain behind them, Peronnik 
and his steed found themselves in a narrow valley in 
which was a grove of trees, full of all sorts of sweet- 
smelling things roses of every colour, yellow broom, 
pink honeysuckle while above them all towered a 
wonderful scarlet pansy whose face bore a strange expres- 
sion. This was the flower that laughs, and no one who 
looked at it could help laughing too. Peronnik's heart 
beat high at the thought that he had reached safely 
the second trial, and he gazed quite calmly at the lion 
with the mane of vipers twisting and twirling, who walked 
up and down in front of the grove. 

The young man pulled up and removed his cap, for, 
idiot though he was, he knew that when you have to 
do with people greater than yourself, a cap is more 
useful in the hand than on the head. Then, after 
wishing all kinds of good fortune to the lion and his 
family, he inquired if he was on the right road to 

'And what is your business at Kerglas?' asked the 
lion with a growl, and showing his teeth. 

'With all respect,' answered Peronnik, pretending to 
be very frightened, 'I am the servant of a lady who is 
a friend of the noble Rogear and sends him some larks 
for a pasty.' 

'Larks?' cried the lion, licking his long whiskers. 
'Why, it must be a century since I have had any! Have 
you a large quantity with you? ' 

'As many as this bag will hold,' replied Peronnik, 
opening, as he spoke, the bag which he had filled with 
feathers and glue; and to prove what he said, he turned 
his back on the lion and began to imitate the song of 
a lark. 



'Come,' exclaimed the lion, whose mouth watered, 
'show me the birds! I should like to see if they are fat 
enough for my master.' 

'I would do it with pleasure,' answered the idiot, 
'but if I once open the bag they will all fly away.' 

'Well, open it wide enough for me to look in,' said 
the lion, drawing a little nearer. 

Now this was just what Peronnik had been hoping 
for, so he held the bag while the lion opened it care- 

fully and put his head right inside, so that he might get 
a good mouthful of larks. But the mass of feathers and 
glue stuck to him, and before he could pull his head out 
again Peronnik had drawn tight the cord, and tied it 
in a knot that no man could untie. Then, quickly gath- 
ering the flower that laughs, he rode off as fast as the 
colt could take him. 

The path soon led to the lake of the dragons, which 


he had to swim across. The colt, who was accustomed 
to it, plunged into the water without hesitation; but 
as soon as the dragons caught sight of Peronnik they 
approached from all parts of the lake in order to devour 

This time Peronnik did not trouble to take off his 
cap, but he threw the beads he carried with him into 
the water, as you throw black corn to a duck, and with 
each bead that he swallowed a dragon turned on his 
back and died, so that the idiot reached the other side 
without further trouble. 

The valley guarded by the black man now lay before 
him, and from afar Peronnik beheld him, chained by 
one foot to a rock at the entrance, and holding the iron 
ball which never missed its mark and always returned 
to its master's hand. In his head the black man had 
six eyes that were never all shut at once, but kept watch 
one after the other. At this moment they were all 
open, and Peronnik knew well that if the black man 
caught a glimpse of him he would cast his ball. So, 
hiding the colt behind a thicket of bushes, he crawled 
along a ditch and crouched close to the very rock to 
which the black man was chained. 

The day was hot, and after a while the man began 
to grow sleepy. Two of his eyes closed, and Peronnik 
sang gently. In a moment a third eye shut, and Peron- 
nik sang on. The lid of a fourth eye dropped heavily, 
and then those of the fifth and the sixth. The black 
man was asleep altogether. 

Then, on tiptoe, the idiot crept back to the colt, which 
he led over soft moss past the black man into the vale 
of pleasure, a delicious garden full of fruits that dangled 
before your mouth, fountains running with wine, and 
flowers chanting in soft little voices. Further on, tables 
were spread with food, and girls dancing on the grass 
called to him to join them. 

Peronnik heard, and, scarcely knowing what he did 


drew the colt into a slower pace. He sniffed greedily 
the smell of the dishes, and raised his head the better 
to see the dancers. Another instant and he would have 
stopped altogether and been lost, like others before 
him, when suddenly there came to him like a vision 
the golden bowl and the diamond lance. Drawing his 
whistle from his pocket, he blew it loudly, so as to drown 
the sweet sounds about him, and ate what was left of 
his bread and bacon to still the craving of the magic 
fruits. His eyes he fixed steadily on the ears of the 
colt, that he might not see the dancers. 

In this way he was able to reach the end of the garden, 
and at length perceived the castle of Kerglas, with the 
river between them which had only one ford. Would 
the lady be there, as the old man had told him? 
Yes, surely that was she, sitting on a rock, in a black 
satin dress, and her face the colour of a Moorish woman's. 
The idiot rode up, and took off his cap more politely 
than ever, and asked if she did not wish to cross the 

'I was waiting for you to help me do so,' answered 
she. 'Come near, that I may get up behind you.' 

Peronnik did as she bade him, and by the help 
of his arm she jumped nimbly on to the back of the 

'Do you know how to kill the magician?' asked the 
lady, as they were crossing the ford. 

'I thought that, being a magician, he was immortal, 
and that no one could kill him,' replied Peronnik. 

'Persuade him to taste that apple, and he will die, 
and if that is not enough I will touch him with my finger, 
for I am the plague,' answered she. 

'But if I kill him, how am I to get the golden bowl 
and the diamond lance that are hidden in the cellar 
without a key?' rejoined Peronnik. 

'The flower that laughs opens all doors and lightens 
all darkness,' said the lady; and as she spoke, they 


"Gho. Lartvt >r\ bltic-Vc. i lug.s 



reached the further bank, and advanced towards the 

In front of the entrance was a sort of tent supported 
on poles, and under it the giant was sitting, basking in 
the sun. As soon as he noticed the colt bearing Peronnik 
and the lady, he lifted his head, and cried in a voice of 
thunder : 

'Why, it is surely the idiot, riding my colt thirteen 
months old!' 

'Greatest of magicians, you are right,' answered 

'And how did you manage to catch him?' asked the 

'By repeating what I learnt from your brother 
Bryak on the edge of the forest,' replied the idiot. 'I 

just said - 

Colt, free to run and free to eat, 
Colt, gallop fast until we meet, 

and it came directly.' 

'You know my brother, then?' inquired the giant. 
'Tell me why he sent you here.' 

'To bring you two gifts which he has just received 
from the country of the Moors,' answered Peronnik: 
'the apple of delight and the woman of submission. If 
you eat the apple you will not desire anything else, and 
if you take the woman as your servant you will never 
wish for another.' 

'Well, give me the apple, and bid the woman get 
down,' answered Rogear. 

The idiot obeyed, but at the first taste of the apple 
the giant staggered, and as the long yellow finger of the 
woman touched him he fell dead. 

Leaving the magician where he lay, Peronnik entered 
the palace, bearing with him the flower that laughs. 
Fifty doors flew open before him, and at length he 
reached a long flight of steps which seemed to lead into 
the bowels of the earth. Down these he went till he 


came to a silver door without a bar or key. Then he 
held up high the flower that laughs, and the door slowly 
swung back, displaying a deep cavern, which was as 
bright as day from the shining of the golden bowl and 
the diamond lance. The idiot hastily ran forward and 
hung the bowl round his neck from the chain which was 
attached to it, and took the lance in his hand. As he 
did so, the ground shook beneath him, and with an 
awful rumbling the palace disappeared, and Peronnik 
found himself standing close to the forest where he led 
the cattle to graze. 

Though darkness was coming on, Peronnik never 
thought of entering the farm, but followed the road 
which led to the court of the duke of Brittany. As he 
passed through the town of Vannes he stopped at a 
tailor's shop, and bought a beautiful costume of brown 
velvet and a white horse, which he paid for with a hand- 
ful of gold that he had picked up in the corridor 
of the castle of Kerglas. Thus he made his way to the 
city of Nantes, which at that moment was besieged by 
the French. 

A little way off, Peronnik stopped and looked about 
him. For miles round the country was bare, for the 
enemy had cut down every tree and burnt every blade 
of corn; and, idiot though he might be, Peronnik was 
able to grasp that inside the gates men were dying of 
famine. He was still gazing with horror, when a 
trumpeter appeared on the walls, and, after blowing a 
loud blast, announced that the duke would adopt as his 
heir the man who could drive the French out of the 

On the four sides of the city the trumpeter blew his 
blast, and the last time Peronnik, who had ridden up 
as close as he might, answered him. 

'You need blow no more,' said he, 'for I myself will 
free the town from her enemies.' And turning to a 


soldier who came running up, waving his sword, he 
touched him with the magic lance, and he fell dead on 
the spot. The men who were following stood still, 
amazed. Their comrade's armour had not been pierced, 
of that they were sure, yet he was dead, as if he had been 
struck to the heart. But before they had time to recover 
from their astonishment, Peronnik cried out: 

'You see how my foes will fare; now behold what I 
can do for my friends,' and, stooping down, he laid the 
golden bowl against the mouth of the soldier, who sat 
up as well as ever. Then, jumping his horse across 
the trench, he entered the gate of the city, which had 
opened wide enough to receive him. 

The news of these marvels quickly spread through 
the town, and put fresh spirit into the garrison, so that 
they declared themselves able to fight under the com- 
mand of the young stranger. And as the bowl restored 
all the dead Bretons to life, Peronnik soon had an army 
large enough to drive away the French, and fulfilled his 
promise of delivering his country. 

As to the bowl and the lance, no one knows what 
became of them, but some say that Bryak the sorcerer 
managed to steal them again, and that any one who 
wishes to possess them must seek them as Peronnik did. 

From 'Le Foyer Breton,' par Emile Souvestre. 


THERE was to be a great battle between all the creatures 
of the earth and the birds of the air. News of it went 
abroad, and the son of the king of Tethertovvn said that 
when the battle was fought he would be there to see it, 
and would bring back word who was to be king. But 
in spite of that, he was almost too late, and every fight 
had been fought save the last, which was between a 
snake and a great black raven. Both struck hard, but 
in the end the snake proved the stronger, and would 
have twisted himself round the neck of the raven till 
he died had not the king's son drawn his sword, and cut 
off the head of the snake at a single blow. And when 
the raven beheld that his enemy was dead, he was grate- 
ful, and said: 

'For thy kindness to me this day, I will show thee a 
sight. So come up now on the root of my two wings.' 
The king's son did as he was bid, and before the raven 
stopped flying, they had passed over seven bens and 
seven glens and seven mountain moors. 

'Do you see that house yonder?' said the raven at 
last. ' Go straight to it, for a sister of mine dwells there, 
and she will make you right welcome. And if she asks, 
"Wert thou at the battle of the birds?" answer that 
thou wert, and if she asks, "Didst thou see my like- 
ness?" answer that thou sawest it, but be sure thou 
meetest me in the morning at this place.' 

The king's son followed what the raven told him and 
that night he had meat of each meat, and drink of each 
drink, warm water for his feet, and a soft bed to lie in. 



Thus it happened the next day, and the next, but on 
the fourth morning, instead of meeting the raven, in 
his place the king's son found waiting for him the 

handsomest youth that ever was seen, with a bundle in 
his hand. 

'Is there a raven hereabouts?' asked the king's son, 
and the youth answered : 


'I am that raven, and I was delivered by thee from 
the spells that bound me, and in reward thou wilt get 
this bundle. Go back by the road thou earnest, and lie 
as before, a night in each house, but be careful not to 
unloose the bundle till thou art in the place wherein 
thou wouldst most wish to dwell.' 

Then the king's son set out, and thus it happened 
as it had happened before, till he entered a thick wood 
near his father's house. He had walked a long way, 
and suddenly the bundle seemed to grow heavier; first 
he put it down under a tree, and next he thought he 
would look at it. 

The string was easy to untie, and the king's son soon 
unfastened the bundle. What was it he saw there? 
Why, a great castle with an orchard all about it, and 
in the orchard fruit and flowers and birds of every kind. 
It was all ready for him to dwell in, but instead of being 
in the midst of the forest, he did wish he had left the 
bundle unloosed till he had reached the green valley 
close to his father's palace. Well, it was no use wishing, 
and with a sigh he glanced up, and beheld a huge giant 
coming towards him. 

'Bad is the place where thou hast built thy house, 
king's son,' said the giant. 

'True; it is not here that I wish it to be,' answered 
the king's son. 

'What reward wilt thou give me if I put it back in 
the bundle ? ' asked the giant. 

'What reward dost thou ask?' answered the king's 

'The first boy thou hast when he is seven years old,' 
said the giant. 

'If I have a boy thou shalt get him,' answered the 
king's son, and as he spoke the castle and the orchard 
were tied up in the bundle again. 

'Now take thy road, and I will take mine,' said the 


giant. 'And if thou forgettest thy promise, / will remem- 
ber it.' 

Light of heart the king's son went on his road, till 
he came to the green valley near his father's palace. 
Slowly he unloosed the bundle, fearing lest he should 
find nothing but a heap of stones or rags. But no! all 
was as it had been before, and as he opened the castle 
door there stood within the most beautiful maiden that 
ever was seen. 

'Enter, king's son,' said she, 'all is ready, and we 
will be married at once,' and so they were. 

The maiden proved a good wife, and the king's son, 
now himself a king, was so happy that he forgot all 
about the giant. Seven years and a day had gone by, 
when one morning, while standing on the ramparts, he 
beheld the giant striding towards the castle. Then he 
remembered his promise, and remembered, too, that he 
had told the queen nothing about it. Now he must tell 
her, and perhaps she might help him in his trouble. 

The queen listened in silence to his tale, and after he 
had finished, she only said: 

'Leave thou the matter between me and the giant,' 
and as she spoke, the giant entered the hall and stood 
before them. 

'Bring out your son,' cried he to the king, 'as you 
promised me seven years and a day since.' 

The king glanced at his wife, who nodded, so he 
answered : 

'Let his mother first put him in order,' and the queen 
left the hall, and took the cook's son and dressed him 
in the prince's clothes, and led him up to the giant, 
who held his hand, and together they went out along 
the road. They had not walked far when the giant 
stopped and stretched out a stick to the boy. 

'If your father had that stick, what would he do with 
it?' asked he. 

'If my father had that stick, he would beat the 


dogs and cats that steal the king's meat,' replied 
the boy. 

'Thou art the cook's son!' cried the giant. 'Go home 
to thy mother;' and turning his back he strode straight 
to the castle. 

'If you seek to trick me this time, the highest stone 
will soon be the lowest,' said he, and the king and queen 
trembled, but they could not bear to give up their boy. 

'The butler's son is the same age as ours,' whispered 
the queen; 'he will not know the difference,' and she 
took the child and dressed him in the prince's clothes, 
and the giant led him away along the road. Before they 
had gone far he stopped, and held out a stick. 

'If thy father had that rod, what would he do with 
it? ' asked the giant. 

'He would beat the dogs and cats that break the 
king's glasses,' answered the boy. 

'Thou art the son of the butler!' cried the giant. 'Go 
home to thy mother;' and turning round he strode back 
angrily to the castle. 

'Bring out thy son at once,' roared he, 'or the stone 
that is highest will be lowest,' and this time the real 
prince was brought. 

But though his parents wept bitterly and fancied 
the child was suffering all kinds of dreadful things, the 
giant treated him like his own son, though he never 
allowed him to see his daughters. The boy grew to 
be a big boy, and one day the giant told him that he 
would have to amuse himself alone for many hours, as 
he had a journey to make. So the boy wandered by the 
river, and down to the sea, and at last he wandered to 
the top of the castle, where he had never been before. 
There he paused, for the sound of music broke upon his 
ears, and opening a door near him, he beheld a girl sit- 
ting by the window, holding a harp. 

'Haste and begone, I see the giant close at hand,' 


she whispered hurriedly, 'but when he is asleep, return 
hither, for I would speak with thee.' And the prince 
did as he was bid, and when midnight struck he crept 
back to the top of the castle. 

'To-morrow,' said the girl, who was the giant's daugh- 
ter, ' to-morrow thou wilt get the choice of my two sisters 
to marry, but thou must answer that thou wilt not take 
either, but only me. This will anger him greatly, for 
he wishes to betroth me to the son of the king of the 
Green City, whom I like not at all.' 

Then they parted, and on the morrow, as the girl 
had said, the giant called his three daughters to him, 
and likewise the young prince, to whom he spoke. 

'Now, O son of the king of Tethertown, the time 
has come for us to part. Choose one of my two elder 
daughters to wife, and thou shalt take her to your father's 
house the day after the wedding.' 

'Give me the youngest instead,' replied the youth, 
and the giant's face darkened as he heard him. 

'Three things must thou do first,' said he. 

'Say on, I will do them,' replied the prince, and the 
giant left the house, and bade him follow to the byre, 
where the cows were kept. 

'For a hundred years no man has swept this byre,' 
said the giant, 'but if by nightfall, when I reach home, 
thou hast not cleaned it so that a golden apple can roll 
through it from end to end, thy blood shall pay for it.' 

All day long the youth toiled, but he might as well 
have tried to empty the ocean. At length, when he 
was so tired he could hardly move, the giant's youngest 
daughter stood in the doorway. 

'Lay down thy weariness,' said she, and the king's 
son, thinking he could only die once, sank on the floor 
at her bidding, and fell sound asleep. When he woke 
the girl had disappeared, and the byre was so clean that 
a golden apple could roll from end to end of it. He 


jumped up in surprise, and at that moment in came 
the giant. 

'Hast thou cleaned the byre, king's son?' asked he. 

'I have cleaned it,' answered he. 

'Well, since thou wert so active to-day, to-morrow 
thou wilt thatch this byre with a feather from every 
different bird, or else thy blood shall pay for it,' and 
he went out. 

Before the sun was up, the youth took his bow and 
his quiver and set off to kill the birds. Off to the moor 
he went, but never a bird was to be seen that day. At 
last he got so tired with running to and fro that he gave 
up heart. 

'There is but one death I can die,' thought he. Then 
at midday came the giant's daughter. 

'Thou art tired, king's son?' said she. 

'I am,' answered he; 'all these hours have I wan- 
dered, and there fell but these two blackbirds, both of 
one colour.' 

'Lay down thy weariness on the grass,' said she, and 
he did as she bade him, and fell fast asleep. 

When he woke the girl had disappeared, and he got 
up, and returned to the byre. As he drew near, he 
rubbed his eyes hard, thinking he was dreaming, for 
there it was, beautifully thatched, just as the giant had 
wished. At the door of the house he met the giant. 

' Hast thou thatched the byre, king's son ? ' 

'I have thatched it.' 

'Well, since thou hast been so active to-day, I have 
something else for thee! Beside the loch thou seest 
over yonder there grows a fir tree. On the top of the 
fir tree is a magpie's nest, and in the nest are five eggs. 
Thou wilt bring me those eggs for breakfast, and if one 
is cracked or broken, thy blood shall pay for it.' 

Before it was light next day, the king's son jumped 
out of bed and ran down to the loch. The tree was 


not hard to find, for the rising sun shone red on the 
trunk, which was five hundred feet from the ground to 
its first branch. Time after time he walked round it, 
trying to find some knots, however small, where he 
could put his feet, but the bark was quite smooth, and 
he soon saw that if he was to reach the top at all, it must 
be by climbing up with his knees like a sailor. But 
then he was a king's son and not a sailor, which made 
all the difference. 

However, it was no use standing there staring at the 
fir, at least he must try to do his best, and try he did 
till his hands and knees were sore, for as soon as he had 
struggled up a few feet, he slid back again. Once he 
climbed a little higher than before, and hope rose in 
his heart, then down he came with such force that his 
hands and knees smarted worse than ever. 

'This is no time for stopping,' said the voice of the 
giant's daughter, as he leant against the trunk to recover 
his breath. 

'Alas! I am no sooner up than down,' answered he. 

'Try once more,' said she, and she laid a finger 
against the tree and bade him put his foot on it. Then 
she placed another finger a little higher up, and so on 
till he reached the top, where the magpie had built her 

'Make haste now with the nest,' she cried, 'for my 
father's breath is burning my back,' and down he 
scrambled as fast as he could, but the girl's little finger 
had caught in a branch at the top, and she was obliged 
to leave it there. But she was too busy to pay 
heed to this, for the sun was getting high over the 

'Listen to me,' she said. 'This night my two sisters 
and I will be dressed in the same garments, and you 
will not know me. But when my father says 'Go to 
thy wife, king's son,' come to the one whose right hand 
has no little finger.' 


So he went and gave the eggs to the giant, who nodded 
his head. 

'Make ready for thy marriage,' cried he, 'for the 
wedding shall take place this very night, and I will sum- 
mon thy bride to greet thee.' Then his three daugh- 
ters were sent for, and they all entered dressed in 
green silk of the same fashion, and with golden circlets 
round their heads. The king's son looked from one to 
another. Which was the youngest? Suddenly his eyes 
fell on the hand of the middle one, and there was no 
little finger. 

'Thou hast aimed well this time too,' said the giant, 
as the king's son laid his hand on her shoulder, 'but 
perhaps we may meet some other way;' and though 
he pretended to laugh, the bride saw a gleam in his eye 
which warned her of danger. 

The wedding took place that very night, and the 
hall was filled with giants and gentlemen, and they 
danced till the house shook from top to bottom. At 
last everyone grew tired, and the guests went away, 
and the king's son and his bride were left alone. 

'If we stay here till dawn my father will kill thee,' 
she whispered, 'but thou art my husband and I will 
save thee, as I did before,' and she cut an apple into 
nine pieces, and put two pieces at the head of the bed, 
and two pieces at the foot, and two pieces at the door 
of the kitchen, and two at the big door, and one outside 
the house. And when this was done, and she heard the 
giant snoring, she and the king's son crept out softly 
and stole across to the stable, where she led out the 
blue-grey mare and jumped on its back, and her husband 
mounted before her. Not long after, the giant awoke. 

'Are you asleep?' asked he. 

'Not yet,' answered the apple at the head of the bed, 
and the giant turned over, and soon was snoring as 
loudly as before. By and bye he called again. 

' Are you asleep ? ' 


'Not yet,' said the apple at the foot of the bed, and 
the giant was satisfied. After a while, he called a third 
time, 'Are you asleep ? ' 

'Not yet,' replied the apple in the kitchen, but when, 
in a few minutes, he put the question for the fourth time 
and received an answer from the apple outside the house 
door, he guessed what had happened, and ran to the 
room to look for himself. 

The bed was cold and empty! 

'My father's breath is burning my back,' cried the 
girl, 'put thy hand into the ear of the mare, and what- 
ever thou findest there, throw it behind thee.' And in 
the mare's ear there was a twig of sloe tree, and as he 
threw it behind him there sprung up twenty miles of 
thornwood so thick that scarce a weasel could go through 
it. And the giant, who was striding headlong forwards, 
got caught in it, and it pulled his hair and beard. 

'This is one of my daughter's tricks,' he said to him- 
self, 'but if I had my big axe and my wood-knife, 
I would not be long making a way through this,' and 
off he went home and brought back the axe and the 

It took him but a short time to cut a road through 
the blackthorn, and then he laid the axe and the knife 
under a tree. 

'I will leave them there till I return,' he murmured 
to himself, but a hoodie crow, which was sitting on a 
branch above, heard him. 

'If thou leavest them,' said the hoodie, 'we will steal 

'You will,' answered the giant, 'and I must take 
them home.' So he took them home, and started afresh 
on his journey. 

'My father's breath is burning my back,' cried the 
girl at midday. 'Put thy finger in the mare's ear and 
throw behind thee whatever thou findest in it,' and the 


king's son found a splinter of grey stone, and threw it 
behind him, and in a twinkling twenty miles of solid 
rock lay between them and the giant. 

'My daughter's tricks are the hardest things that 
ever met me,' said the giant, 'but if I had my lever and 
my crowbar, I would not be long in making my way 
through this rock also,' but as he had not got them, he 
had to go home and fetch them. Then it took him but 
a short time to hew his way through the rock. 

'I will leave the tools here,' he murmured aloud when 
he had finished. 

'If thou leavest them, we will steal them,' said a hoodie 
who was perched on a stone above him, and the giant 
answered : 

'Steal them if thou wilt; there is no time to go 

'My father's breath is burning my back,' cried the 
girl; 'look in the mare's ear, king's son, or we are lost,' 
and he looked, and found a tiny bladder full of water, 
which he threw behind him, and it became a great loch. 
And the giant, who was striding on so fast, could not 
stop himself, and he walked right into the middle and 
was drowned. 

The blue-grey mare galloped on like the wind, and 
the next day the king's son came in sight of his father's 

'Get down and go in,' said the bride, 'and tell them 
that thou hast married me. But take heed that neither 
man nor beast kiss thee, for then thou wilt cease to 
remember me at all.' 

'I will do thy bidding,' answered he, and left her at 
the gate. All who met him bade him welcome, and he 
charged his father and mother not to kiss him, but as 
he greeted them his old greyhound leapt on his neck, 
and kissed him on the mouth. And after that he did 
not remember the giant's daughter. 



All that day she sat on a well which was near the 
gate, waiting, waiting, but the king's son never came. 
In the darkness she climbed up into an oak tree that 
shadowed the well, and there she lay all night, waiting, 

On the morrow, at midday, the wife of a shoemaker 
who dwelt near the well went to draw water for 
her husband to drink, and she saw the shadow of 

the girl in the tree, and thought it was her own 

'How handsome I am, to be sure,' said she, gazing 
into the well, and as she stooped to behold herself better, 
the jug struck against the stones and broke in -pieces, 
and she was forced to return to her husband without 
the water, and this angered him. 

'Thou hast turned crazy,' said he in wrath. 'Go 
thou, my daughter, and fetch me a drink,' and the girl 


went, and the same thing befell her as had befallen her 

'Where is the water?' asked the shoemaker, when 
she came back, and as she held nothing save the handle 
of the jug he went to the well himself. He too saw the 
reflection of the woman in the tree, but looked up to 
discover whence it came, and there above him sat the 
most beautiful woman in the world. 

'Come down,' he said, 'for a while thou canst stay 
in my house,' and glad enough the girl was to come. 

Now the king of the country was about to marry, 
and the young men about the court thronged the 
shoemaker's shop to buy fine shoes to wear at the wed- 

'Thou hast a pretty daughter,' said they when they 
beheld the girl sitting at work. 

'Pretty she is,' answered the shoemaker, 'but no 
daughter of mine.' 

'I would give a hundred pounds to marry her,' said 

'And I,' 'And I,' cried the others. 

'That is no business of mine,' answered the shoe- 
maker, and the young men bade him ask her if she would 
choose one of them for a husband, and to tell them on 
the morrow. Then the shoemaker asked her, and the 
girl said that she would marry the one who would 
bring his purse with him. So the shoemaker hurried 
to the youth who had first spoken, and he came back, 
and after giving the shoemaker a hundred pounds for his 
news, he sought the girl, who was waiting for him. 

'Is it thou?' inquired she. 'I am thirsty, give me 
a drink from the well that is out yonder.' And he poured 
out the water, but he could not move from the place 
where he was; and" there he stayed till many hours had 
passed by. 

'Take away that foolish boy,' cried the girl to the 
shoemaker at last, 'I am tired of him,' and then sud- 


denly he was able to walk, and betook himself to his 
home, but he did not tell the others what had happened 
to him. 

Next day there arrived one of the other young men, 
and in the evening, when the shoemaker had gone out 
and they were alone, she said to him, 'See if the latch 
is on the door.' The young man hastened to do her 
bidding, but as soon as he touched the latch, his fingers 
stuck to it, and there he had to stay for many hours, 
till the shoemaker came back, and the girl let him go. 
Hanging his head, he went home, but he told no one 
what had befallen him. 

Then was the turn of the third man, and his foot 
remained fastened to the floor, till the girl unloosed it. 
And thankfully he ran off, and was not seen looking 
behind him. 

'Take the purse of gold,' said the girl to the shoe- 
maker, 'I have no need of it, and it will better thee.' 
And the shoemaker took it and told the girl he must 
carry the shoes for the wedding up to the castle. 

'I would fain get a sight of the king's son before he 
marries,' sighed she. 

'Come with me, then,' answered he; 'the servants 
are all my friends, and they will let you stand in the 
passage down which the king's son will pass, and all 
the company too.' 

Up they went to the castle, and when the young men 
saw the girl standing there, they led her into the hall 
where the banquet was laid out and poured her out 
some wine. She was just raising the glass to drink 
when a flame went up out of it, and out of the flame 
sprang two pigeons, one of gold and one of silver. They 
flew round and round the head of the girl, when three 
grains of barley fell on the floor, and the silver pigeon 
dived down, and swallowed them. 

'If thou hadst remembered how I cleaned the byre, 


thou wouldst have given me my share,' cooed the golden 
pigeon, and as he spoke three more grains fell, and the 
silver pigeon ate them as before. 

'If thou hadst remembered how I thatched the byre, 
thou wouldst have given me my share,' cooed the golden 
pigeon again; and as he spoke three more grains fell, 
and for the third time they were eaten by the silver 

'If thou hadst remembered how I got the magpie's 
nest, thou wouldst have given me my share,' cooed the 
golden pigeon. 

Then the king's son understood that they had come 
to remind him of what he had forgotten, and his lost 
memory came back, and he knew his wife, and kissed 
her. But as the preparations had been made, it seemed 
a pity to waste them, so they were married a second 
time, and sat down to the wedding feast. 

From 'Tales of the West Highlands.' 


IN the centre of the great hall in the castle of Caerleon 
upon Usk, king Arthur sat on a seat of green rushes, 
over which was thrown a covering of flame-coloured silk, 
and a cushion of red satin lay under his elbow. With 
him were his knights Owen and Kynon and Kai, while 
at the far end, close to the window, were Guenevere the 
queen and her maidens embroidering white garments 
with strange devices of gold. 

'I am weary,' said Arthur, 'and till my food is pre- 
pared I would fain sleep. You yourselves can tell each 
other tales, and Kai will fetch you from the kitchen 
a flagon of mead and some meat.' 

And when they had eaten and drunk, Kynon, the 
oldest among them, began his story. 

'I was the only son of my father and mother, and 
much store they set by me, but I was not content to 
stay with them at home, for I thought no deed in all the 
world was too mighty for me. None could hold me 
back, and after I had won many adventures in my own 
land, I bade farewell to my parents and set out to see 
the world. Over mountains, through deserts, across 
rivers I went, till I reached a fair valley full of trees, 
with a path running by the side of a stream. I walked 
along that path all the day, and in the evening I came 
to a castle in front of which stood two youths clothed 
in yellow, each grasping an ivory bow, with arrows made 
of the bones of the whale, and winged with peacock's 


feathers. By their sides hung golden daggers with hilts 
of the bones of the whale. 

'Near these young men was a man richly dressed, 
who turned and went with me towards the castle, where 
all the dwellers were gathered in the hall. In one win- 
dow I beheld four and twenty damsels, and the least 
fair of them was fairer than Guenevere at her fairest. 
Some took my horse, and others unbuckled my armour, 
and washed it, with my sword and spear, till it all shone 
like silver. Then I washed myself and put on a vest 
and doublet which they brought me, and I and the man 
that entered with me sat down before a table of silver, 
and a goodlier feast I never had. 

'All this time neither the man nor the damsels had 
spoken one word, but when our dinner was half over, 
and my hunger was stilled, the man began to ask who I 
was. Then I told him my name and my father's name, 
and why I came there, for indeed I had grown weary of 
gaining the mastery over all men at home, and sought 
if perchance there was one who could gain the mastery 
over me. And at this the man smiled and answered: 

'"If I did not fear to distress thee too much, I would 
show thee what thou seekest." His words made me 
sorrowful and fearful of myself, which the man perceived, 
and added, "If thou meanest truly what thou sayest, 
and desirest earnestly to prove thy valour, and not to 
boast vainly that none can overcome thee, I have some- 
what to show thee. But to-night thou must sleep in 
this castle, and in the morning see that thou rise early 
and follow the road upwards through the valley, until 
thou reachest a wood. In the wood is a path branching 
to the right; go along this path until thou comest to a 
space of grass with a mound in the middle of it. On 
the top of the mound stands a black man, larger than 
any two white men; his eye is in the centre of his fore- 
head and he has only one foot. He carries a club of 
iron, and two white men could hardly lift it. Around 


him graze a thousand beasts, all of different kinds, for 
he is the guardian of that wood, and it is he who will 
tell thee which way to go in order to find the adven- 
ture thou art in quest of." 


'So spake the man, and long did that night seem to 
me, and before dawn I rose and put on my armour, 
and mounted my horse and rode on till I reached the 
grassy space of which he had told me. There was the 


black man on top of the mound, as he had said, and in 
truth he was mightier in all ways than I had thought 
him to be. As for the club, Kai, it would have been 
a burden for four of our warriors. He waited for me 
to speak, and I asked him what power he held over the 
beasts that thronged so close about him. 

'"I will show thee, little man," he answered, and 
with his club he struck a stag on the head till he brayed 
loudly. And at his braying the animals came running, 
numerous as the s'ars in the sky, so that scarce was I 
able to stand among them. Serpents were there also, 
and dragons, and beasts of strange shapes, with horns 
in places where never saw I horns before. And the 
black man only looked at them and bade them go and 
feed. And they bowed themselves before him, as vas- 
sals before their lord. 

'"Now, little man, I have answered thy question 
and showed thee my power," said he. "Is there any- 
thing else thou wouldest know?" Then I inquired of 
him my way, but he grew angry, and, as I perceived, 
would fain have hindered me; but at the last, after I 
had told him who I was, his anger passed from him. 

'"Take that path," said he, "that leads to the head 
of this grassy glade, and go up the wood till thou reachest 
the top. There thou wilt find an open space, and in 
the midst of it a tall tree. Under the tree is a foun- 
tain, and by the fountain a marble slab, and on the 
slab a bowl of silver, with a silver chain. Dip the bowl 
in the fountain, and throw the water on the slab, and 
thou wilt hear a mighty peal of thunder, till heaven 
and earth seem trembling with the noise. After the 
thunder will come hail, so fierce that scarcely canst 
thou endure it and live, for the hailstones are both large 
and thick. Then the sun will shine again, but every 
leaf of the tree will be lying on the ground. Next a 
flight of birds will come and alight on the tree, and never 
didst thou hear a strain so sweet as that which they 


will sing. And at the moment in which their song 
sounds sweetest thou wilt hear a murmuring and com- 
plaining coming towards thee along the valley, and 
thou wilt see a knight in black velvet bestriding a 
black horse, bearing a lance with a black pennon, 
and he will spur his steed so as to fight thee. If thou 
turnest to flee, he will overtake thee, and if thou abidest 
where thou art, he will unhorse thee. And if thou dost 
not find trouble in that adventure, thou needest , not 
to seek it during the rest of thy life." 

'So I bade the black man farewell, and took my way 
to the top of the wood, and there I found everything 
just as I had been told. I went up to the tree beneath 
which stood the fountain, and filling the silver bowl 
with water, emptied it on the marble slab. Thereupon 
the thunder came, louder by far than I had expected 
to hear it, and after the thunder came the shower, but 
heavier by far than I had expected to feel it, for, of a 
truth I tell thee, Kai, not one of those hailstones would 
be stopped by skin or by flesh till it had reached the 
bone. I turned my horse's flank towards the shower, 
and. bending over his neck, held my shield so that it 
might cover his head and my own. When the hail had 
passed, I looked on the tree and not a single leaf was 
left on it, and the sky was blue and the sun shining, 
while on the branches were perched birds of every kind, 
who sang a song sweeter than any that has come to my 
ears, either before or since. 

'Thus, Kai, I stood listening to the birds, when lo, 
a murmuring voice approached me, saying: 

'"0 knight, what has brought thee hither? What 
evil have I done to thee, that thou shouldest do so much 
to me, for in all my lands neither man nor beast that 
met that shower has escaped alive." Then from the 
valley appeared the knight on the black horse, grasp- 
ing the lance with the black pennon. Straightway 
we charged each other, and though I fought my best, 


he soon overcame me, and I was thrown to the ground, 
while the knight seized the bridle of my horse, and rode 
away with it, leaving me where I was, without even 
despoiling me of my armour. 

' Sadly did I go down the hill again, and when I reached 
the glade where the black man was, I confess to thee, 
Kai, it was a marvel that I did not melt into a liquid 
pool, so great was my shame. That night I slept at 
the castle where I had been before, and I was bathed 
and feasted, and none asked me how I had fared. The 
next morning when I arose I found a bay horse saddled 
for me, and, girding on my armour, I returned to my 
own court. The horse is still in the stable, and I would 
not part with it for any in Britain. 

'But of a truth, Kai, no man ever confessed an adven- 
ture so much to his own dishonour, and strange 
indeed it seems that none other man have I ever met 
that knew of the black man, and the knight, and the 

'Would it not be well,' said Owen, 'to go and dis- 
cover the place?' 

'By the hand of my friend,' answered Kai, 'often 
dost thou utter that with thy tongue which thou wouldest 
not make good with thy deeds.' 

'In truth,' said Guenevere the queen, who had listened 
to the tale, ' thou wert better hanged, Kai, than use 
such speech towards a man like Owen.' 

'I meant nothing, lady,' replied Kai; 'thy praise of 
Owen is not greater than mine.' And as he spoke Arthur 
awoke, and asked if he had not slept for a little. 

'Yes, lord,' answered Owen, 'certainly thou hast slept.' 

' Is it time for us to go to meat? ' 

'It is, lord,' answered Owen. 

Then the horn for washing themselves was sounded, 
and after that the king and his household sat down to 
eat. And when they had finished, Owen left them, 
and made ready his horse and his arms. 


With the first rays of the sun he set forth, and trav- 
elled through deserts and over mountains and across 
rivers, and all befell him which had befallen Kynon, till 
he stood under the leafless tree listening to the song 
of the birds. Then he heard the voice, and turning to 
look found the knight galloping to meet him. Fiercely 
they fought till their lances were broken, and then they 
drew their swords, and a blow from Owen cut through 
the knight's helmet, and pierced his skull. 

Feeling himself wounded unto death the knight fled, 
and Owen pursued him till they came to a splendid 
castle. Here the knight dashed across the bridge that 
spanned the moat, and entered the gate, but as soon as 
he was safe inside, the drawbridge was pulled up and 
caught Owen's horse in the middle, so that half of him 
was inside and half out, and Owen could not dismount 
and knew not what to do. 

While he was in this sore plight a little door in the 
castle gate opened, and he could see a street facing him, 
with tall houses. Then a maiden with curling hair of 
gold looked through the little door and bade Owen open 
the gate. 

'By my troth!' cried Owen, 'I can no more open it 
from here than thou art able to set me free.' 

'Well,' said she, 'I will do my best to release thee 
if thou wilt do as I tell thee. Take this ring and put it 
on with the stone inside thy hand, and close thy fingers 
tight, for as long as thou dost conceal it, it will conceal 
thee. When the men inside have held counsel together, 
they will come to fetch thee to thy death, and they will 
be much grieved not to find thee. I will stand on the 
horse block yonder and thou canst see me though I 
cannot see thee. Therefore draw near and place thy 
hand on my shoulder and follow me wheresoever 
I go.' 

Upon that she went away from Owen, and when the 
men came out from the castle to seek him and did not 


find him they were sorely grieved, and they returned to 
the castle. 

Then Owen went to the maiden and placed his hand 
on her shoulder, and she guided him to a large room, 
painted all over with rich colours, and adorned with 
images of gold. Here she gave him meat and drink, 
and water to wash with and garments to wear, and he 
lay down upon a soft bed, with scarlet and fur to cover 
him, and slept gladly. 

In the middle of the night he woke hearing a great 
outcry, and he jumped up and clothed himself and went 
into the hall, where the maiden was standing. 

'What is it?' he asked, and she answered that the 
knight who owned the castle was dead, and they were 
bearing his body to the church. Never had Owen beheld 
such vast crowds, and following the dead knight was 
the most beautiful lady in the world, whose cry was 
louder than the shout of the men, or the braying of the 
trumpets. And Owen looked on her and loved her. 

'Who is she?' he asked the damsel. 'That is my 
mistress, the countess of the fountain, and the wife of 
him whom thou didst slay yesterday.' 

'Verily,' said Owen, 'she is the woman that I love 

'She shall also love thee not a little,' said the 

Then she left Owen, and after a while went into the 
chamber of her mistress, and spoke to her, but the coun- 
tess answered her nothing. 

'What aileth thee, mistress?' inquired the maiden. 

' Why hast thou kept far from me in my grief, Luned ? ' 
answered the countess, and in her turn the damsel 

'Is it well for thee to mourn so bitterly for the dead, 
or for anything that is gone from thee?' 

'There is no man in the world equal to him,' replied the 


countess, her cheeks growing red with anger. 'I would 
fain banish thee for such words.' 

'Be .not angry, lady,' said Luned, 'but listen to my 
counsel. Thou knowest well that alone thou canst 
not preserve thy lands, therefore seek some one to 
help thee.' 

' And how can I do that ? ' asked the countess. 

'I will tell thee,' answered Luned. 'Unless thou 
canst defend the fountain all will be lost, and none can 
defend the fountain except a knight of Arthur's court. 
There will I go to seek him, and woe betide me if I return 
without a warrior that can guard the fountain, as well 
as he who kept it before.' 

'Go then/ said the countess, 'and make proof of that 
which thou hast promised.' 

So Luned set out, riding on a white palfrey, on pre- 
tence of journeying to King Arthur's court, but instead 
of doing that she hid herself for as many days as it would 
have taken her to go and come, and then she left her 
hiding-place, and went in to the countess. 

'What news from the court?' asked her mistress, 
when she had given Luned a warm greeting. 

'The best of news,' answered the maiden, 'for I have 
gained the object of my mission. When wilt thou 
that I present to thee the knight who has returned 
with me?' 

'To-morrow at midday,' said the countess, 'and I 
will cause all the people in the town to come together. 

Therefore the next day at noon Owen put on his 
coat of mail, and over it he wore a splendid mantle, 
while on his feet were leather shoes fastened with clasps 
of gold. And he followed Luned to the chamber of 
her mistress. 

Right glad was the countess to see them, but she 
looked closely at Owen and said: 

'Luned, this knight has scarcely the air of a 



'What harm is there in that, lady?' answered 

'I am persuaded,' said the countess, 'that this man 
and no other chased the soul from the body of my lord.' 

'Had he not been stronger than thy lord,' replied 
the damsel, 'he could not have taken his life, and for 
that, and for all things that are past, there is no remedy.' 

'Leave me, both of you,' said the countess, 'and I 
will take counsel.' 

Then they went out. 

The next morning the countess summoned her sub- 
jects to meet in the courtyard of the castle, and told 
them that now that her husband was dead there was 
none to defend her lands. 

'So choose you which it shall be,' she said. 'Either 
let one of you take me for a wife, or give me your consent 
to take a new lord for myself, that my lands be not with- 
out a master.' 

At her words the chief men of the city withdrew into 
one corner and took counsel together, and after a while 
the leader came forward and said that they had decided 
that it was best, for the peace and safety of all, that 
she should choose a husband for herself. Thereupon 
Owen was summoned to her presence, and he accepted 
with joy the hand that she offered him, and they were 
married forthwith, and the men of the earldom did 
him homage. 

From that day Owen defended the fountain as the 
earl before him had done, and every knight that came 
by was overthrown by him, and his ransom divided 
among his barons. In this way three years passed, and 
no man in the world was more beloved than Owen. 

Now at the end of the three years it happened that 
Gwalchmai the knight was with Arthur, and he per- 
ceived the king to be very sad. 


'My lord, has anything befallen thee?' he asked. 

'Oh, Gwalchmai, I am grieved concerning Owen, 
whom I have lost these three years, and if a fourth year 
passes without him I can live no longer. And sure am 
I that the tale told by Kynon the son of Clydno caused 
me to lose him. I will go myself with the men of my 
household to avenge him if he is dead, to free him if he 
is in prison, to bring him back if he is alive.' 

Then Arthur and three thousand men of his house- 
hold set out in quest of Owen, and took Kynon for their 
guide. When Arthur reached the castle, the youths 
were shooting in the same place, and the same yellow 
man was standing by, and as soon as he beheld Arthur 
he greeted him and invited him in, and they entered 
together. So vast was the castle that the king's three 
thousand men were of no more account than if they 
had been twenty. 

At sunrise Arthur departed thence, with Kynon for 
his guide, and reached the black man first, and after- 
wards the top of the wooded hill, with the fountain and 
the bowl and the tree. 

'My lord,' said Kai, 'let me throw the water on the 
slab and receive the first adventure that may befall.' 

'Thou mayest do so,' answered Arthur, and Kai threw 
the water. 

Immediately all happened as before; the thunder 
and the shower of hail which killed many of Arthur's 
men; the song of the birds and the appearance of the 
black knight. And Kai met him and fought him, and 
was overthrown by him. Then the knight rode away, 
and Arthur and his men encamped where they stood. 

In the morning Kai again asked leave to meet the 
knight and to try to overcome him, which Arthur 
granted. But once more he was unhorsed, and the 
black knight's lance broke his helmet and pierced the 
skin even to the bone, and humbled in spirit he returned 
to the camp. 


After this every one of the knights gave battle, but 
none came out victor, and at length there only remained 
Arthur himself and Gwalchmai. 

'Oh, let me fight him, my lord,' cried Gwalchmai, 
as he saw Arthur taking up his arms. 

'Well, fight then,' answered Arthur, and Gwalchmai 
threw a robe over himself and his horse, so that none 
knew him. All that day they fought, and neither was 
able to throw the other, and so it was on the next day. 
On the third day the combat was so fierce that they 
fell both to the ground at once, and fought on their 
feet, and at last the black knight gave his foe such a 
blow on his head that his helmet fell from his face. 

'I did not know it was thee, Gwalchmai,' said the 
black knight. 'Take my sword and my arms.' 

'No,' answered Gwalchmai, 'it is thou, Owen, who 
art the victor, take thou my sword': but Owen would 

'Give me your swords,' said Arthur from behind 
them, 'for neither of you has vanquished the other,' 
and Owen turned and put his arms round Arthur's 

The next day Arthur would have given orders to his 
men to make ready to go back whence they came, but 
Owen stopped him. 

'My lord,' he said, 'during the three years that I 
have been absent from thee I have been preparing a 
banquet for thee, knowing full well that thou wouldst 
come to seek me. Tarry with me, therefore, for a while, 
thou and thy men.' 

So they rode to the castle of the countess of the foun- 
tain, and spent three months in resting and feasting. 
And when it was time for them to depart Arthur 
besought the countess that she would allow Owen to go 
with him to Britain for the space of three months. With 
a sore heart she granted permission, and so content was 
Owen to be once more with his old companions that 



three years instead of three months passed away like 
a dream. 

One day Owen sat at meat in the castle of Caerleon 
upon Usk, when a damsel on a bay horse entered the 
hall, and riding straight up to the place where Owen 
sat she stooped and drew the ring from off his hand. 

'Thus shall be treated the traitor and the faithless,' 
said she, and turning her horse's head she rode out of 
the hall. 

At her words Owen remembered all that he had for- 
gotten, and sorrowful and ashamed he went to his own 
chamber and made ready to depart. At the dawn he 
set out, but he did not go back to the castle, for his heart 
was heavy, but he wandered far into wild places till 
his body was weak and thin, and his hair was long. The 
wild beasts were his friends, and he slept by their side, 
but in the end he longed to see the face of a man again, 
and he came down into a valley and fell asleep by a 
lake in the lands of a widowed countess. 

Now it was the time when the countess took her walk, 
attended by her maidens, and when they saw a man 
lying by the lake they shrank back in terror, for he lay 
so still that they thought he was dead. But when they 
had overcome their fright, they drew near him, and 
touched him, and saw that there was life in him. Then 
the countess hastened to the castle, and brought from 
it a flask of precious ointment and gave it to one of her 

'Take that horse which is grazing yonder,' she said, 
'and a suit of men's garments, and place them near the 
man, and pour some of this ointment near his heart. 
If there is any life in him that will bring it back. But 
if he moves, hide thyself in the bushes near by, and see 
what he does.' 

The damsel took the flask and did her mistress' 
bidding. Soon the man began to move his arms, and 


then rose slowly to his feet. Creeping forward step by 
step he took the garments from off the saddle and put 
them on him, and painfully he mounted the horse. When 
he was seated the damsel came forth and greeted him, 
and glad was he when he saw her, and inquired what 
castle that was before him. 

'It belongs to a widowed countess,' answered the 
maiden. ' Her husband left her two earldoms, but 
it is all that remains of her broad lands, for they have 
been torn from her by a young earl, because she would 
not marry him.' 

'That is a pity,' replied Owen, but he said no more, 
for he was too weak to talk much. Then the maiden 
guided him to the castle, and kindled a fire, and brought 
him food. And there he stayed and was tended for 
three months, till he was handsomer than ever he was. 

At noon one day Owen heard a sound of arms 
outside the castle, and he asked of the maiden what it 

'It is the earl of whom I spoke to thee,' she answered, 
'who has come with a great host to carry off my mis- 

'Beg of her to lend me a horse and armour,' said Owen, 
and the maiden did so, but the countess laughed some- 
what bitterly as she answered: 

'Nay, but I will give them to him, and such a horse 
and armour and weapons as he has never had yet, though 
I know not what use they will be to him. Yet mayhap 
it will save them from falling into the hands of my 

The horse was brought out and Owen rode forth with 
two pages behind him, and they saw the great host 
encamped before them. 

'Where is the earl?' said he, and the pages 

'In yonder troop where are four yellow standards.' 

'Await me,' said Owen, at the gate of the castle, 


and he cried a challenge to the earl, who came to meet 
him. Hard did they fight, but Owen overthrew his 
enemy and drove him in front to the castle gate and 
into the hall. 

'Behold the reward of thy blessed balsam,' said he, 
as he bade the earl kneel down before her, and made 
him swear that he would restore all that he had taken 
from her. 

After that he departed, and went into the desert, 
and as he was passing through a wood he heard a loud 
yelling. Pushing aside the bushes he beheld a lion 
standing on a great mound, and by it a rock. Near 
the rock was a lion seeking to reach the mound, and 
each time he moved out darted a serpent from the rock 
to prevent him. Then Owen unsheathed his sword, 
and cut off the serpent's head and went on his way, 
and the lion followed and played about him, as if he 
had been a greyhound. And much more useful was 
he than a greyhound, for in the evening he brought 
large logs in his mouth to kindle a fire, and killed a fat 
buck for dinner. 

Owen made his fire and skinned the buck, and put 
some of it to roast, and gave the rest to the lion for sup- 
per. While he was waiting for the meat to cook he 
heard a sound of deep sighing close to him, and he said: 

' Who art thou ? ' 

'I am Luned,' replied a voice from a cave so hidden 
by bushes and green hanging plants that Owen had not 
seen it. 

'And what dost thou here?' cried he. 

'I am held captive in this cave on account of the knight 
who married the countess and left her, for the pages 
spoke ill of him, and because I told them that no man 
living was his equal they dragged me here and said I 
should die unless he should come to deliver me by a 
certain day, and that is no further than the day after 
to-morrow. His name is Owen, the son of Urien, but I 


have none to send to tell him of my danger, or of a surety 
he would deliver me.' 

Owen held his peace, but gave the maiden some of 
the meat, and bade her be of good cheer. Then, followed 
by the lion, he set out for a great castle on the other 
side of the plain, and men came and took his horse and 
placed it in a manger, and the lion went after and 
lay down on the straw. Hospitable and kind were all 
within the castle, but so full of sorrow that it might have 
been thought death was upon them. At length, when 
they had eaten and drunk, Owen prayed the earl to 
tell him the reason of their grief. 

'Yesterday,' answered the earl, 'my two sons were 
seized, while they were hunting, by a monster who 
dwells on those mountains yonder, and he vows that he 
will not let them go unless I will give him my daughter 
to wife.' 

'That shall never be,' said Owen; 'but what form 
hath this monster ? ' 

'In shape he is a man, but in stature he is a giant,' 
replied the earl, 'and it were better by far that he should 
slay my sons than that I should give up my daughter.' 

Early next morning the dwellers in the castle were 
awakened by a great clamour, and they found that the 
giant had arrived with the two young men. Swiftly 
Owen put on his armour and went forth to meet the 
giant, and the lion followed at his heels. And when the 
great beast beheld the hard blows which the giant dealt 
his master he flew at his throat, and much trouble had 
the monster in beating him off. 

'Truly,' said the giant, 'I should find no difficulty 
in fighting thee, if it were not for that lion.' When he 
heard that Owen felt shame that he could not overcome 
the giant with his own sword, so he took the lion and 
shut him up in one of the towers of the castle, and 
returned to the fight. But from the sound of the blows 
the lion knew that the combat was going ill for Owen, so 


he climbed up till he reached the top of the tower, where 
there was a door on to the roof, and from the tower he 
sprang on to the walls, and from the walls to the ground. 
Then with a loud roar he leaped upon the giant, who 
fell dead under the blow of his paw. 

Now the gloom of the castle was turned into rejoic- 
ing, and the earl begged Owen to stay with him till he 
could make him a feast, but the knight said he had 
other work to do, and rode back to the place where he 
had left Luned, and the lion followed at his heels. 
When he came there he saw a great fire kindled, and 
two youths leading out the maiden to cast her upon 
the pile. 

'Stop!' he cried, dashing up to them. 'What charge 
have you against her? ' 

'She boasted that no man in the world was equal 
to Owen,' said they, 'and we shut her in a cave, and 
agreed that none should deliver her but Owen himself, 
and that if he did not come by a certain day she should 
die. And now the time has past and there is no sign 
of him.' 

'In truth he is a good knight, and had he but known 
that the maid was in peril he would have come to save 
her,' said Owen; 'but accept me in his stead, I entreat 

'We will,' replied they, and the fight began. 

The youths fought well and pressed hard on Owen, 
and when the lion saw that he came to help his master. 
But the youths made a sign for the fight to stop, and 

' Chieftain, it was agreed we should give battle to thee 
alone, and it is harder for us to contend with yonder 
beast than with thee.' 

Then Owen shut up the lion in the cave where the 
maiden had been in prison, and blocked up the front 
with stones. But the fight with the giant had sorely 
tried him, and the youths fought well, and pressed him 


harder than before. And when the lion saw that he 
gave a loud roar, and burst through the stones, and 
sprang upon the youths and slew them. And so Luned 
was delivered at the last. 

Then the maiden rode back with Owen to the lands 
of the lady of the fountain. And he took the lady with 
him to Arthur's court, where they lived happily till 
they died. 

From the 'Mabinogion.' 


IN the old land of Brittany, once called Cornwall, there 
lived a woman named Barba'ik Bourhis, who spent all 
her days in looking after her farm with the help of her 
niece Tephany. Early and late the two might be seen 
in the fields or in the dairy, milking cows, making butter, 
feeding fowls; working hard themselves and taking 
care that others worked too. Perhaps it might have 
been better for Barba'ik if she had left herself a little 
time to rest and to think about other things, for soon 
she grew to love money for its own sake, and only gave 
herself and Tephany the food and clothes they abso- 
lutely needed. And as for poor people, she positively 
hated them, and declared that such lazy creatures had 
no business in the world. 

Well, this being the sort of person Barba'ik was, it 
is easy to guess at her anger when one day she found 
Tephany talking outside the cow-house to young Denis, 
who was nothing more than a day labourer from the 
village of Plover. Seizing her niece by the arm, she 
pulled her sharply away, exclaiming: 

'Are you not ashamed, girl, to waste your time over 
a man who is as poor as a rat, when there are a dozen 
more who would be only too happy to buy you rings of 
silver, if you would let them ? ' 

'Denis is a good workman, as -you know very well,' 
answered Tephany, red with anger, 'and he puts by 
money too, and soon he will be able to take a farm for 


'Nonsense/ cried Barbaik, 'he will never save enough 
for a farm till he is a hundred. I would sooner see you 
in your grave than the wife of a man who carries his 
whole fortune on his back.' 

'What does fortune matter when one is young and 
strong?' asked Tephany, but her aunt, amazed at such 
words, would hardly let her finish. 

'What does fortune matter?' repeated Barbaik, in 
a shocked voice. 'Is it possible that you are really so 
foolish as to despise money ? If this is what you learn 
from Denis, I forbid you to speak to him, and I will 
have him turned out of the farm if he dares to show his 
face here again. Now go and wash the clothes and 
spread them out to dry.' 

Tephany did not dare to disobey, but with a heavy 
heart went down the path to the river. 

'She is harder than these rocks,' said the girl to her- 
self, 'yes, a thousand times harder. For the rain at 
least can at last wear away the stone, but you might 
cry for ever, and she would never care. Talking to 
Denis is the only pleasure I have, and if I am not to 
see him I may as well enter a convent.' 

Thinking these thoughts she reached the bank, and 
began to unfold the large packet of linen that had to 
be washed. The tap of a stick made her look up, and 
standing before her she saw a little old woman, whose 
face was strange to her. 

'You would like to sit down and rest, granny?' asked 
Tephany, pushing aside her bundle. 

'When the sky is all the roof you have, you rest 
where you will,' replied the old woman in trembling 

'Are you so lonely, then?' inquired Tephany, full 
of pity. 'Have you no friends who would welcome you 
into their houses?' 

The old woman shook her head. 


'They all died long, long ago,' she answered, 'and the 
only friends I have are strangers with kind hearts.' 

The girl did not speak for a moment, then held out 
the small loaf and some bacon intended for her dinner. 

'Take this,' she said; 'to-day at any rate you shall 
dine well,' and the old woman took it, gazing at Tephany 
the while. 

'Those who help others deserve to be helped,' she 
answered; 'your eyes are still red because that miser 
Barba'ik has forbidden you to speak to the young man 
from Plover. But cheer up, you are a good girl, and I 
will give you something that will enable you to see him 
once every day.' 

'You?' cried Tephany, stupefied at discovering that 
the beggar knew all about her affairs, but the old woman 
did not hear her. 

'Take this long copper pin,' she went on, 'and every 
time you stick it in your dress Mother Bourhis will be 
obliged to leave the house in order to go and count her 
cabbages. As long as the pin is in your dress you will 
be free, and your aunt will not come back until you have 
put it in its case again.' Then, rising, she nodded to 
Tephany and vanished. 

The girl stood where she was, as still as a stone. If 
it had not been for the pin in her hands she would have 
thought she was dreaming. But by that token she 
knew it was no common old woman who had given it 
to her, but a fairy, wise in telling what would happen 
in the days to come. Then suddenly Tephany's eyes 
fell on th'e clothes, and to make up for lost time she began 
to wash them with great vigour. 

Next evening, at the moment when Denis was accus- 
tomed to wait for her in the shadow of the cow-house, 
Tephany stuck the pin in her dress, and at the very same 
instant Barba'ik took up her sabots or wooden shoes and 
went through the orchard and past to the fields, to the 


plot where the cabbages grew. With a heart as light as 
her footsteps, the girl ran from the house, and spent her 
evening happily with Denis. And so it was for many 
days after that. Then, at last, Tephany began to notice 
something, and the something made her very sad. 

At first Denis seemed to find the hours that they 
were together fly as quickly as she did, but when he had 
taught her all the songs he knew, and told her all the 
plans he had made for growing rich and a great man, 
he had nothing more to say to her, for he, like a great 
many other people, was fond of talking himself, but not 
of listening to any one else. Sometimes, indeed, he 
never came at all, and the next evening he would tell 
Tephany that he had been forced to go into the town 
on business, but though she never reproached him she 
was not deceived and saw plainly that he no longer cared 
for her as he used to do. 

Day by day her heart grew heavier and her cheeks 
paler, and one evening, when she had waited for him 
in vain, she put her water-pot on her shoulder and went 
slowly down to the spring. On the path in front of 
her stood the fairy who had given her the pin, and as 
she glanced at Tephany she gave a little mischievous 
laugh and said: 

'Why, my pretty maiden hardly looks happier than 
she did before, in spite of meeting her lover whenever 
she pleases.' 

'He has grown tired of me,' answered Tephany in a 
trembling voice, 'and he makes excuses to stay away. 
Ah! granny dear, it is not enough to be able to see him, 
I must be able to amuse him and to keep him with me. 
He is so clever, you know. Help me to be clever too.' 

'Is that what you want? ' cried the old woman. 'Well, 
take this feather and stick it in your hair, and you will 
be as wise as Solomon himself.' 

Blushing with pleasure Tephany went home and 
stuck the feather into the blue ribbon which girls always 


wear in that part of the country. In a moment she 
heard Denis whistling gaily, and as her aunt was safely 
counting her cabbages, she hurried out to meet him. 
The young man was struck dumb by her talk. There 
was nothing that she did not seem to know, and as for 
songs she not only could sing those from every part of 
Britanny, but could compose them herself. Was this 
really the quiet girl who had been so anxious to learn 
all he could teach her, or was it somebody else? Per- 
haps she had gone suddenly mad, and there was an evil 
spirit inside her. But in any case, night after night 
he came back, only to find her growing wiser and wiser. 
Soon the neighbours whispered their surprise among 
themselves, for Tephany had not been able to resist the 
pleasure of putting the feather in her hair for some of 
the people who despised her for her poor clothes, and 
many were the jokes she made about them. Of course 
they heard of her jests, and shook their heads saying: 

'She is an ill-natured little cat, and the man that 
marries her will find that it is she who will hold the reins 
and drive the horse.' 

It was not long before Denis began to agree with 
them, "and as he always liked to be master wherever he 
went, he became afraid of Tephany's sharp tongue, and 
instead of laughing as before when she made fun of 
other people he grew red and uncomfortable, thinking 
that his turn would come next. 

So matters went on till one evening Denis told Tephany 
that he really could not stay a moment, as he had prom- 
ised to go to a dance that was to be held in the next 

Tephany's face fell; she had worked hard all day, 
and had been counting on a quiet hour with Denis. She 
did her best to persuade him to remain with her, but he 
would not listen, and at last she grew angry. 

'Oh, I know why you are so anxious not to miss the 


dance,' she said; 'it is because Azilicz of Penenru will 
be there.' 

Now Azilicz was the loveliest girl for miles round, 
and she and Denis had known each other from child- 

'Oh yes, Azilicz will be there,' answered Denis, who 
was quite pleased to see her jealous, 'and naturally one 
would go a long way to watch her dance.' 

'Go then!' cried Tephany, and entering the house 
she slammed the door behind her. 

Lonely and miserable she sat down by the fire and 
stared into the red embers. Then, flinging the feather 
from her hair, she put her head on her hands, and sobbed 

'What is the use of being clever when it is beauty 
that men want? That is what I ought to have asked 
for. But it is too late, Denis will never come back.' 

'Since you wish it so much you shall have beauty,' 
said a voice at her side, and looking round she beheld 
the old woman leaning on her stick. 

'Fasten this necklace round your neck, and as long 
as you wear it you will be the most beautiful woman 
in the world,' continued the fairy. With a little shriek 
of joy Tephany took the necklace, and snapping the 
clasp ran to the mirror which hung in the corner. Ah, 
this time she was not afraid of Azilicz or of any other 
girl, for surely none could be as fair and white as she. 
And with the sight of her face a thought came to her, 
and putting on hastily her best dress and her buckled 
shoes she hurried off to the dance. 

On the way she met a beautiful carriage with a young 
man seated in it. 

'What a lovely maiden!' he exclaimed, as Tephany 
approached. 'Why, there is not a girl in my own country 
that can be compared to her. She, and no other, shall 
be my bride.' 

The carriage was large and barred the narrow road, 


so Tephany was forced, much against her will, to remain 
where she was. But she looked the young man full in 
the face as she answered: 

'Go your way, noble lord, and let me go mine. I 
am only a poor peasant girl, accustomed to milk and 
make hay and spin.' 

'Peasant you may be, but I will make you a great 
lady,' said he, taking her hand and trying to lead her 
to the carriage. 

'I don't want to be a great lady, I only want to be 
the wife of Denis,' she replied, throwing off his hand 
and running to the ditch which divided the road from 
the cornfield, where she hoped to hide. Unluckily the 
young man guessed what she was doing, and signed 
to his attendants, who seized her and put her in the 
coach. The door was banged, and the horses whipped 
up into a gallop. 

At the end of an hour they arrived at a splendid castle, 
and Tephany, who would not move, was lifted out and 
carried into the hall, while a priest was sent for to per- 
form the marriage ceremony. The young man tried 
to win a smile from her by telling of all the beautiful 
things she should have as his wife, but Tephany did 
not listen to him, and looked about to see if there was 
any means by which she could escape. It did not seem 
easy. The three great doors were closely barred, and 
the one through which she had entered shut with a spring, 
but her feather was still in her hair, and by its aid she 
detected a crack in the wooden panelling, through which 
a streak of light could be dimly seen. Touching the 
copper pin which fastened her dress, the girl sent every 
one in the hall to count the cabbages, while she herself 
passed through the little door, not knowing whither 
she was going. 

By this time night had fallen, and Tephany was very 
tired. Thankfully she found herself at the gate of a 
convent, and asked if she might stay there till morning. 



But the portress answered roughly that it was no place 
for beggars, and bade her begone, so the poor girl dragged 
herself slowly along the road, till a light and the bark 
of a dog told her that she was near a farm. 

In front of the house was a group of people; two or 
three women and the sons of the farmer. When their 
mother heard Tephany's request to be given a bed the 
good wife's heart softened, and she was just going to 
invite her inside, when the young men, whose heads 
were turned by the girl's beauty, began to quarrel as 
to which should do most for her. From words they 
came to blows, and the women, frightened at the dis- 
turbance, pelted Tephany with insulting names. She 
quickly ran down the nearest path, hoping to escape 
them in the darkness of the trees, but in an instant she 
heard their footsteps behind her. Wild with fear her 
legs trembled under her, when suddenly she bethought 
herself of her necklace. With a violent effort she burst 
the clasp and flung it round the neck of a pig which was 
grunting in a ditch, and as she did so she heard the foot- 
steps cease from pursuing her and run after the pig, 
for her charm had vanished. 

On she went, scarcely knowing where she was going, 
till she found herself, to her surprise and joy, close to 
her aunt's house. For several days she felt so tired 
and unhappy that she could hardly get through her 
work, and to make matters worse Denis scarcely ever 
came near her. 

'He was too busy,' he said, 'and really it was only 
rich people who could afford to waste time in talking.' 

As the days went on Tephany grew paler and paler, 
till everybody noticed it except her aunt. The water- 
pot was almost too heavy for her now, but morning and 
evening she carried it to the spring, though the effort to 
lift it to her shoulder was often too much for her. 

'How could I have been so foolish,' she whispered 
to herself, when she went .down as usual at sunset. 'It 


was not freedom to see Denis that I should have asked 
for, for he was soon weary of me, nor a quick tongue, 
for he was afraid of it, nor beauty, for that brought me 
nothing but trouble, but riches which make life easy 
both for oneself and others. Ah! if I only dared to beg 
this gift from the fairy, I should be wiser than before 
and know how to choose better.' 

'Be satisfied,' said the voice of the old woman, who 
seemed to be standing unseen at Tephany 's elbow. 'If 
you look in your right-hand pocket when you go home 
you will find a small box. Rub your eyes with the oint- 
ment it contains, and you will see that you yourself 
contain a priceless treasure.' 

Tephany did not in the least understand what she 
meant, but ran back to the farm as fast as she could, 
and began to fumble joyfully in her right-hand pocket. 
Sure enough, there was the little box with the precious 
ointment. She was in the act of rubbing her eyes with 
it when Barbaik Bourhis entered the room. Ever since 
she had been obliged to leave her work and pass her 
time, she did not know why, in counting cabbages, every- 
thing had gone wrong, and she could not get a labourer 
to stay with her because of her bad temper. When, 
therefore, she saw her niece standing quietly before her 
mirror, Barbaik broke out: 

'So this is what you do when I am out in the fields! 
Ah! it is no wonder if the farm is ruined. Are you not 
ashamed, girl, to behave so ? ' 

Tephany tried to stammer some excuse, but her aunt 
was half mad with rage, and a box on the ears was her 
only answer. At this Tephany, hurt, bewildered and 
excited, could control herself no longer, and turning 
away burst into tears. But what was her surprise when 
she saw that each tear-drop was a round and shining 
pearl. Barbaik, who also beheld this marvel, uttered a 
cry of astonishment, and threw herself on her knees to 
pick them up from the floor. 


She was still gathering them when the door opened 
and in came Denis. 

'Pearls! Are they really pearls?' he asked, falling 
on his knees also, and looking up at Tephany he per- 
ceived others still more beautiful rolling down the girl's 

'Take care not to let any of the neighbours hear of 
it, Denis,' said Barbaik. 'Of course you shall have 
your share, but nobody else shall get a single one. Cry 
on, my dear, cry on,' she continued to Tephany. It is 
for your good as well as ours,' and she held out her apron 
to catch them, and Denis his hat. 

But Tephany could hardly bear any more. She felt 
half choked at the sight of their greediness, and wanted 
to rush from the hall, and though Barbaik caught her 
arm to prevent this, and said all sorts of tender words 
which she thought would make the girl weep the more, 
Tephany with a violent effort forced back her tears, 
and wiped her eyes. 

'Is she finished already?' cried Barbaik, in a tone 
of disappointment. 'Oh, try again, my dear. Do you 
think it would do any good to beat her a little?' she 
added to Denis, who shook his head. 

'That is enough for the first time. I will go into the 
town and find out the value of each pearl.' 

'Then I will go with you,' said Barbaik, who never 
trusted any one and was afraid of being cheated. So 
the two went out, leaving Tephany behind them. 

She sat quite still on her chair, her hands clasped 
tightly together, as if she was forcing something back. 
At last she raised her eyes, which had been fixed on the 
ground, and beheld the fairy standing in a dark corner 
by the hearth, observing her with a mocking look. The 
girl trembled and jumped up, then, taking the feather, 
the pin, and the box, she held them out to the old woman. 

'Here they are, all of them,' she cried; 'they belong 
to you. Let me never see them again, but I have learned 


the lesson that they taught me. Others may have 
riches, beauty and wit, but as for me I desire nothing 
but to be the poor peasant girl I always was, working 
hard for those she loves.' 

'Yes, you have learned your lesson,' answered the 
fairy, 'and now you shall lead a peaceful life and marry 
the man you love. For after all it was not yourself 
you thought of but him.' 

Never again did Tephany see the old woman, but she 
forgave Denis for selling her tears, and in time he grew 
to be a good husband, who did his own share of work. 

From ' Le Foyer Breton,' par E. Souvestre. 


IN old times, when all kinds of wonderful things hap- 
pened in Brittany, there lived in the village of Lanillis 
a young man named Houarn Pogamm and a girl called 
Bellah Postik. They were cousins, and as their mothers 
were great friends, and constantly in and out of each 
other's houses, they had often been laid in the same 
cradle, and had played and fought over their games. 

'When they are grown up they will marry/ said the 
mothers; but just as every one was beginning to think 
of wedding bells, the two mothers died, and the cousins, 
who had no money, went as servants in the same house. 
This was better than being parted, of course, but not 
so good as having a little cottage of their own, where 
they could do as they liked, and soon they might have 
been heard bewailing to each other the hardness of their 

'If we could only manage to buy a cow and get a pig 
to fatten,' grumbled Houarn, 'I would rent a bit of 
ground from the master, and then we could be married.' 

'Yes,' answered Bellah, with a deep sigh; 'but we 
live in such hard times, and at the last fair the price of 
pigs had risen again.' 

'We shall have long to wait, that is quite clear,' replied 
Houarn, turning away to his work. 

Whenever they met they repeated their grievances, 
and at length Houarn's patience was exhausted, and 
one morning he came to Bellah and told her that he 
was going away to seek his fortune. 


The girl was very unhappy as she listened to this, 
and felt sorry that she had not tried to make the best 
of things. She implored Houarn not to leave her, but 
he would listen to nothing. 

'The birds,' he said, 'continue flying until they reach 
a field of corn, and the bees do not stop unless they 
find the honey-giving flowers, and why should a man 
have less sense than they? Like them, I shall seek 
till I get what I want - - that is, money to buy a cow 
and a pig to fatten. And if you love me, Bellah, you 
won't attempt to hinder a plan which will hasten our 

The girl saw it was useless to say more, so she answered 

'Well, go then, since you must. But first I will divide 
with you all that my parents left me,' and going to her 
room, she opened a small chest, and took from it a bell, 
a knife, and a little stick. 

'This bell,' she said, 'can be heard at any distance, 
however far, but it only rings to warn us that our friends 
are in great danger. The knife frees all it touches from 
the spells that have been laid on them; while the stick 
will carry you wherever you want to go. I will give 
you the knife to guard you against the enchantments 
of wizards, and the bell to tell me of your perils. The 
stick I shall keep for myself, so that I can fly to you 
if ever you have need of me.' 

Then they cried for a little on each other's necks, and 
Houarn started for the mountains. 

But in those days, as in these, beggars abounded, 
and through every village he passed they followed Houarn 
in crowds, mistaking him for a gentleman, because there 
were no holes in his clothes. 

'There is no fortune to be made here,' 1 he thought to 
himself; 'it is a place for spending, and not earning. I 
see I must go further,' and he walked on to Pont-aven, 
a pretty little town built on the bank of a river. 


He was sitting on a bench outside an inn, when he 
heard two men who were loading their mules talking 
about the Groac'h of the island of Lok. 

'What is a Groac'h?' asked he. 'I have never come 
across one.' And the men answered that it was the 
name given to the fairy that dwelt in the lake, and that 
she was rich oh! richer than all the kings in the world 
put together. Many had gone to the island to try and 
get possession of her treasures, but no one had ever 
come back. 

As he listened Houarn's mind was made up. 

'I will go, and return too,' he said to the muleteers. 
They stared at him in astonishment, and besought him 
not to be so mad and to throw away his life in such a 
foolish manner; but he only laughed, and answered 
that if they could tell him of any other way in which 
to procure a cow and a pig to fatten, he would think 
no more about it. But the men did not know how this 
was to be done, and, shaking their heads over his obsti- 
nacy, left him to his fate. 

So Houarn went down to the sea, and found a boat- 
man who engaged to take him to the isle of Lok. 

The island was large, and lying almost across it was 
a lake, with a narrow opening to the sea. Houarn paid 
the boatman and sent him away, and then proceeded to 
walk round the lake. At one end he perceived a small 
skiff, painted blue and shaped like a swan, lying under 
a clump of yellow broom. As far as he could see, the 
swan's head was tucked under its wing, and Houarn, 
who had never beheld a boat of the sort, went quickly 
towards it and stepped in, so as to examine it the better. 
But no sooner was he on board than the swan woke 
suddenly up; his head emerged from under his wing, 
his feet began to move in the water, and in another 
moment they were in the middle of the lake. 

As soon as the young man had recovered from his 
surprise, he prepared to jump into the lake and swim 


to shore. But the bird had guessed his intentions, and 
plunged beneath the water, carrying Houarn with him 
to the palace of the Groac'h. 

Now, unless you have been under the sea and beheld 
all the wonders that lie there, you can never have an 
idea what the Groac'h's palace was like. It was all 
made of shells, blue and green and pink and lilac and 
white, shading into each other till you could not tell 
where one colour ended and the other began. The 
staircases were of crystal, and every separate stair sang 
like a woodland bird as you put your foot on it. Round 
the palace were great gardens full of all the plants that 
grow in the sea, with diamonds for flowers. 

In a large hall the Groac'h was lying on a couch of 
gold. The pink and white of her face reminded you 
of the shells of her palace, while her long black hair was 
intertwined with strings of coral, and her dress of green 
silk seemed formed out of the sea. At the sight of her 
Houarn stopped, dazzled by her beauty. 

'Come in,' said the Groac'h, rising to her feet. 'Stran- 
gers and handsome youths are always welcome here. 
Do not be shy, but tell me how you found your way, 
and what you want.' 

'My name is Houarn,' he answered, 'Lanillis is my 
home, and I am trying to earn enough money to buy 
a little cow and a pig to fatten.' 

'Well, you can easily get that,' replied she; 'it is noth- 
ing to worry about. Come in and enjoy yourself.' 
And she beckoned him to follow her into a second 
hall whose floors and walls were formed of pearls, 
while down the sides there were tables laden with 
fruit and wines of all kinds; and as he ate and 
drank, the Groac'h talked to him and told him how 
the treasures he saw came from shipwrecked vessels, 
and were brought to her palace by a magic current of 


'I do not wonder,' exclaimed Houarn, who now felt 
quite at home --'I do not wonder that the people on 
the earth have so much to say about you.' 

'The rich are always envied.' 

'For myself,' he added, with a laugh, 'I only ask for 
the half of your wealth.' 

'You can have it, if you will, Houarn,' answered the 


'What do you mean?' cried he. 

'My husband, Korandon, is dead,' she replied, 'and 
if you wish it, I will marry you.' 

The young man gazed at her in surprise. Could 
any one so rich and so beautiful really wish to be his 
wife ? He looked at her again, and Bellah was forgotten 
as he answered: 

'A man would be mad indeed to refuse such an offer. 
I can only accept it with joy.' 

'Then the sooner it is done the better,' said the Groac'h, 
and gave orders to her servants. After that was finished, 
she begged Houarn to accompany her to a fish-pond 
at the bottom of the garden. 

'Come lawyer, come miller, come tailor, come singer!' 
cried she, holding out a net of steel; and at each 
summons a fish appeared and jumped into the net. 
When it was full she went into a large kitchen and 
threw them all into a golden pot; but above the bubbling 
of the water Houarn seemed to hear the whispering of 
little voices. 

'Who is it whispering in the golden pot, Groac'h?' 
he inquired at last. 

'It is nothing but the noise of the wood sparkling,' 
she answered: but it did not sound the least like that 
to Houarn. 

'There it is again,' he said, after a short pause. 

'The water is getting hot, and it makes the fish jump,' 
she replied; but soon the noise grew louder and 
like cries. 

'What is it?' asked Houarn, beginning to feel uncom- 

'Just the crickets on the hearth,' said she, and broke 
into a song which drowned the cries from the pot. 

But though Houarn held his peace, he was not as 
happy as before. Something seemed to have gone 
wrong, and then he suddenly remembered Bellah. 


1 Is it possible I can have forgotten her so soon ? What 
a wretch I am!' he thought to himself; and he remained 
apart and watched the Groac'h while she emptied the 
fish into a plate, and bade him eat his dinner while she 
fetched wine from her cellar in a cave. 

Houarn sat down and took out the knife which Bellah 
had given him, but as soon as the blade touched 
the fish the enchantment ceased, and four men stood 
before him. 

'Houarn, save us, we entreat you, and save yourself 
too!' murmured they, not daring to raise their voices. 

'Why, it must have been you who were crying out 
in the pot just now!' exclaimed Houarn. 

'Yes, it was us,' they answered. 'Like you, we came 
to the isle of Lok to seek our fortunes, and like you we 
consented to marry the Groac'h, and no sooner was 
the ceremony over than she turned us into fishes, as she 
had done to all our forerunners, who are in the fish- 
pond still, where you will shortly join them.' 

On hearing this Houarn leaped into the air, as if he 
already felt himself frizzling in the golden pot. He 
rushed to the door, hoping to escape that way; but the 
Groac'h, who had heard everything, met him on the 
threshold. Instantly she threw the steel net over his 
head, and the eyes of a little green frog peeped through 
the meshes. 

'You shall go and play with the rest,' she said, carry- 
ing him off to the fish-pond. 

It was at this very moment that Bellah, who was 
skimming the milk in the farm dairy, heard the fairy 
bell tinkle violently. 

At the sound she grew pale, for she knew it meant 
that Houarn was in danger; and, hastily changing the 
rough dress she wore for her work, she left the farm 
with the magic stick in her hand. 

Her knees were trembling under her, but she ran as 


fast as she could to the cross roads, where she drove her 
stick into the ground, murmuring as she did so a verse 
her mother had taught her: 

Little staff of apple-tree, 
Over the earth and over the sea, 
Up in the air be guide to me, 
Everywhere to wander free, 

and immediately the stick became a smart little horse, 
with a rosette at each ear and a feather on his forehead. 
He stood quite still while Bellah scrambled up, then 
he started off, his pace growing quicker and quicker, till 
at length the girl could hardly see the trees and houses 
as they flashed past. But, rapid as the pace was, it was 
not rapid enough for Bellah, who stooped and said: 

'The swallow is less swift than the wind, the wind 
is less swift than the lightning. But you, my horse, if 
you love me, must be swifter than them all, for there is 
a part of my heart that suffers --the best part of my 
heart that is in danger.' 

And the horse heard her, and galloped like a straw 
carried along by a tempest till they reached the foot of 
a rock called the Leap of the Deer. There he stopped, 
for no horse or mule that ever was born could climb that 
rock, and Bellah knew it, so she began to sing again: 

Horse of Leon, given to me, 
Over the earth and over the sea, 
Up in the air be guide to me, 
Everywhere to wander free, 

and when she had finished, the horse's fore legs grew 
shorter and spread into wings, his hind legs became 
claws, feathers sprouted all over his body, and she sat 
on the back of a great bird, which bore her to the sum- 
mit of the rock. Here she found a nest made of clay 
and lined with dried moss, and in the centre a tiny man, 
black and wrinkled, who gave a cry of surprise at the 
sight of Bellah. 


'Ah! you are the pretty girl who was to come and 
save me!' 

'To save you!' repeated Bellah. 'But who are you, 
my little friend?' 

'I am the husband of the Groac'h of the isle of Lok, 
and it is owing to her that I am here.' 

'But what are you doing in this nest?' 


'I am sitting on six eggs of stone, and I shall not be 
set free till they are hatched.' 

On hearing this Bellah began to laugh. 

'Poor little cock!' she said, 'and how am I to deliver 

'By delivering Houarn, who is in the power of the 

'Ah! tell me how I can manage that, and if I have 


to walk round the whole of Brittany on my bended 
knees I will do it!' 

'Well, first you must dress yourself as a young man, 
and then go and seek the Groac'h. When you have 
found her you must contrive to get hold of the net of 
steel that hangs from her waist, and shut her up in it 
for ever.' 

'But where am I to find a young man's clothes?' 
asked she. 

'I will show you,' he replied, and as he spoke he pulled 
out three of his red hairs and blew them away mut- 
tering something the while. In the twinkling of an 
eye the four hairs changed into four tailors, of whom 
the first carried a cabbage, the second a pair of scissors, 
the third a needle, and the fourth an iron. Without 
waiting for orders, they sat down in the nest and, cross- 
ing their legs comfortably, began to prepare the suit of 
clothes for Bellah. 

With one of the leaves of the cabbage they made her 
a coat, and another served for a waistcoat; but it took 
two for the wide breeches which were then in fashion. 
The hat was cut from the heart of the cabbage, and a 
pair of shoes from the thick stem. And when Bellah 
had put them all on you would have taken her for 
a gentleman dressed in green velvet, lined with white 

She thanked the little men gratefully, and after a 
few more instructions, jumped on the back of her great 
bird and was borne away to the isle of Lok. Once there, 
she bade him transform himself back into a stick, and 
with it in her hand she stepped into the blue boat, which 
conducted her to the palace of shells. 

The Groac'h seemed overjoyed to see her, and told 
her that never before had she beheld such a handsome 
young man. Very soon she led her visitor into the 
great hall, where wine and fruit were always waiting, 
and on the table lay the magic knife, left there by Houarn. 


Unseen by the Groac'h, Bellah hid it in a pocket of 
her green coat, and then followed her hostess into the 
garden, and to the pond which contained the fish, their 
sides shining with a thousand different colours. 

'Oh! what beautiful, beautiful creatures!' said she. 
'I'm sure I should never be tired of watching them.' 
And she sat down on the bank, with her elbows on her 
knees and her chin in her hands, her eyes fixed on the 
fishes as they flashed past. 

'Would you not like to stay here always?' asked the 
Groac'h; and Bellah answered that she desired nothing 

'Then you have only to marry me,' said the Groac'h. 
'Oh! don't say no, for I have fallen deeply in love with 

'Well, I won't say "No,"' replied Bellah, with a laugh, 
'but you must promise first to let me catch one of those 
lovely fish in your net.' 

'It is not so easy as it looks,' rejoined the Groac'h, 
smiling, 'but take it, and try your luck.' 

Bellah took the net which the Groac'h held out, and, 
turning rapidly, flung it over the witch's head. 

' Become in body what you are in soul ! ' cried she, 
and in an instant the lovely fairy of the sea was a toad, 
horrible to look upon. She struggled hard to tear the 
net asunder, but it was no use. Bellah only drew it 
the tighter, and, flinging the sorceress into a pit, she 
rolled a great stone across the mouth, and left her. 

As she drew near the pond she saw a great procession 
of fishes advancing to meet her, crying in hoarse tones: 

'This is our lord and master, who has saved us from 
the net of steel and the pot of gold ! ' 

'And who will restore you to your proper shapes,' 
said Bellah, drawing the knife from her pocket. But 
just as she was going to touch the foremost fish, her 
eyes fell on a green frog on his knees beside her, his little 
paws crossed over his little heart. Bellah felt as if 


fingers were tightening round her throat, but she man- 
aged to cry: 

' Is this you, my Houarn ? Is this you ? ' 
'It is I,' croaked the little frog; and as the knife touched 
him he was a man again, and, springing up, he clasped 
her in his arms. 

'But we must not forget the others,' she said at last, 
and began to transform the fishes to their proper 
shapes. There were so many of them that it took quite 
a long time. Just as she had finished there arrived 
the little dwarf from the Deer's Leap in a car drawn 
by six cockchafers, which once had been the six stone 

'Here I am!' he exclaimed. 'You have broken the 
spell that held me, and now come and get your reward,' 
and, dismounting from his chariot, he led them down 
into the caves filled with gold and jewels, and bade 
Bellah and Houarn take as much as they wanted. 

When their pockets were full, Bellah ordered her 
stick to become a winged carriage, large enough to bear 
them and the men they had rescued back to Lanillis. 

There they were married the next day, but instead 
of setting up housekeeping with the little cow and pig 
to fatten that they had so long wished for, they were 
able to buy lands for miles round for themselves, and 
gave each man who had been delivered from the Groac'h 
a small farm, where he lived happily to the end of his 

From 'Le Foyer Breton,' par E. Souvestre. 



MANAWYDDAN the prince and his friend Pryderi were 
wanderers, for the brother of Manawyddan had been 
slain, and his throne taken from him. Very sorrowful 
was Manawyddan, but Pryderi was stout of heart, and 
bade him be of good cheer, as he knew a way out of 
his trouble. 

'And what may that be?' asked Manawyddan. 

'It is that thou marry my mother Rhiannon and 
become lord of the fair lands that I will give her for 
dowry. Never did any lady have more wit than she, 
and in her youth none was more lovely; even yet she is 
good to look upon.' 

'Thou art the best friend that ever a man had,' said 
Manawyddan. 'Let us go now to seek Rhiannon, and 
the lands where she dwells.' 

Then they set forth, but the news of their coming 
ran swifter still, and Rhiannon and Kicva, wife of Pryderi, 
made haste to prepare a feast for them. And Manawyd- 
dan found that Pryderi had spoken the truth concern- 
ing his mother, and asked if she would take him for 
her husband. Right gladly did she consent, and without 
delay they were married, and rode away to the hunt, 
Rhiannon and Manawyddan, Kicva and Pryderi, and 
they would not be parted from each other by night or 
by day, so great was the love between them. 

One day, when they were returned, they were sitting 
out in a green place, and suddenly the crash of thunder 
struck loudly on their ears, and a wall of mist fell between 


them, so that they were hidden one from the other. 
Trembling they sat till the darkness fled and the light 
shone again upon them, but in the place where they 
were wont to see cattle, and herds, and dwellings, they 
beheld neither house nor beast, nor man nor smoke; 
neither was any one remaining in the green place save 
these four only. 

'Whither have they gone, and my host also?' cried 
Manawyddan, and they searched the hall, and there 
was no man, and the castle, and there was none, and 
in the dwellings that were left was nothing save wild 
beasts. For a year these four fed on the meat that 
Manawyddan and Pryderi killed out hunting, and the 
honey of the bees that sucked the mountain heather. 
For a time they desired nothing more, but when the 
next year began they grew weary. 

'We cannot spend our lives thus,' said Manawyddan 
at last, 'let us go into England and learn some trade 
by which we may live.' So they left Wales, and went 
to Hereford, and there they made saddles, while Mana- 
wyddan fashioned blue enamel ornaments to put on 
their trappings. And so greatly did the townsfolk 
love these saddles, that no others were bought through- 
out the whole of Hereford, till the saddlers banded 
together and resolved to slay Manawyddan and his 

When Pryderi heard of it, he was very wroth, and 
wished to stay and fight. But the counsels of Mana- 
wyddan prevailed, and they moved by night to another 

'What craft shall we follow?' asked Pryderi. 

'We will make shields,' answered Manawyddan. 

'But do we know anything of that craft?' answered 

'We will try it,' said Manawyddan, and they began 
to make shields, and fashioned them after the shape of 


the shields they had seen; and these likewise they 
enamelled. And so greatly did they prosper that no 
man in the town bought a shield except they had made 
it, till at length the shield-makers banded together as 
the saddlers had done, and resolved to slay them. But 
of this they had warning, and by night betook them- 
selves to another town. 

'Let us take to making shoes,' said Manawyddan, 
' for there are not any among the shoemakers bold enough 
to fight us.' 

'I know nothing of making shoes,' answered Pryderi, 
who in truth despised so peaceful a craft. 

'But I know,' replied Manawyddan, 'and I will teach 
thee to stitch. We will buy the leather ready dressed, 
and will make the shoes from it.' 

Then straightway he sought the town for the best 
leather, and for a goldsmith to fashion the clasps, and he 
himself watched till it was done, so that he might learn 
for himself. Soon he became known as 'The Maker of 
Gold Shoes,' and prospered so greatly, that as long as 
one could be bought from him not a shoe was purchased 
from the shoemakers of the town. And the craftsmen 
were wroth, and banded together to slay them. 

'Pryderi,' said Manawyddan, when he had received 
news of it, 'we will not remain in England any longer. 
Let us set forth to Dyved.' 

So they journeyed until they came to their lands at 
Narberth. There they gathered their dogs round them, 
and hunted for a year as before. 

After that a strange thing happened. One morning 
Pryderi and Manawyddan rose up to hunt, and loosened 
their dogs, which ran before them, till they came to a 
small bush. At the bush, the dogs shrank away as if 
frightened, and returned to their masters, their hair 
bristling on their backs. 

'We must see what is in that bush,' said Pryderi, and 
what was in it was a boar, with a skin as white as the 


snow on the mountains. And he came out, and made a 
stand as the dogs rushed on him, driven on by the men. 
Long he stood at bay; then at last he betook himself 
to flight, and fled to a castle which was newly built, 
in a place where no building had ever been known. Into 
the castle he ran, and the dogs after him, and long though 
their masters looked and listened, they neither saw nor 
heard aught concerning dogs or boar. 

'I will go into the castle and get tidings of the dogs,' 
said Pryderi at last. 

'Truly,' answered Manawyddan, 'thou wouldst do 
unwisely, for whosoever has cast a spell over this land 
has set this castle here.' 

'I cannot give up my dogs,' replied Pryderi, and to 
the castle he went. 

But within was neither man nor beast; neither boar 
nor dogs, but only a fountain with marble round it, 
and on the edge a golden bowl, richly wrought, which 
pleased Pryderi greatly. In a moment he forgot about 
his dogs, and went up to the bowl and took hold of it, 
and his hands stuck to the bowl, and his feet to the 
marble slab, and despair took possession of him. 

Till the close of day Manawyddan waited for him, 
and when the sun was fast sinking, he went home, think- 
ing that he had strayed far. 

' Where are thy friend and thy dogs ? ' said Rhiannon, 
and he told her what had befallen Pryderi. 

'A good friend hast thou lost,' answered Rhiannon, 
and she went up to the castle and through the gate, 
which was open. There, in the centre of the courtyard, 
she beheld Pryderi standing, and hastened towards 

'What dost thou here?' she asked, laying her hand 
on the bowl, and as she spoke she too stuck fast, and 
was not able to utter a word. Then thunder was heard 
and a veil of darkness descended upon them, and the 
castle vanished and they with it. 


When Kicva, the wife of Pryderi, found that neither 
her husband nor his mother returned to her, she was 
in such sorrow that she cared not whether she lived or 
died. Manawyddan was grieved also in his heart, and 
said to her: 

' It is not fitting that we should stay here, for we have 
lost our dogs and cannot get food. Let us go into Eng- 
land --it is easier for us to live there.' So they set 

'What craft wilt thou follow?' asked Kicva as they 
went along. 

'I shall make shoes as once I did,' replied he; and he 
got all the finest leather in the town and caused gilded 
clasps to be made for the shoes, till everyone flocked 
to buy, and all the shoemakers in the town were idle 
and banded together in anger to kill him. But luckily 
Manawyddan got word of it, and he and Kicva left the 
town one night and proceeded to Narberth, taking with 
him a sheaf of wheat, which he sowed in three plots 
of ground. And while the wheat was growing up, he 
hunted and fished, and they had food enough and to 
spare. Thus the months passed until the harvest; and 
one evening Manawyddan visited the furthest of his 
fields of wheat; and saw that it was ripe. 

'To-morrow I will reap this,' said he; but on the mor- 
row when he went to reap the wheat he found nothing 
but the bare straw. 

Filled with dismay he hastened to the second field, 
and there the corn was ripe and golden. 

'To-morrow I will reap this,' he said, but on the mor- 
row the ears had gone, and there was nothing but the 
bare straw. 

'Well, there i& still one field left,' he said, and when 
he looked at it, it was still fairer than the other two. 
'To-night I will watch here,' thought he, 'for whosoever 
carried off the other corn will in like manner take this, 
and I will know who it is.' So he hid himself and waited. 


The hours slid by, and all was still, so still that 
Manawyddan well-nigh dropped asleep. But at mid- 
night there arose the loudest tumult in the world, and 
peeping out he beheld a mighty host of mice, which 
could neither be numbered nor measured. Each mouse 
climbed up a straw till it bent down with its weight, 
and then it bit off one of the ears, and carried it away, 
and there was not one of the straws that had not got 
a mouse to it. 

Full of wrath he rushed at the mice, but he could no 
more come up with them than if they had been gnats, 
or birds of the air, save one only which lingered behind 
the rest, and this mouse Manawyddan came up with. 
Stooping down he seized it by the tail, and put it in 
his glove, and tied a piece of string across the opening 
of the glove, so that the mouse could not escape. When 
he entered the hall where Kicva was sitting, he lighted 
a fire, and hung the glove up on a peg. 

'What hast thou there?' asked she. 

'A thief,' he answered, 'that I caught robbing me.' 

'What kind of a thief may it be which thou couldst 
put in thy glove ? ' said Kicva. 

'That I will tell thee,' he replied, and then he showed 
her how his fields of corn had been wasted, and how he 
had watched for the mice. 

'And one was less nimble than the rest, and is now 
in my glove. To-morrow I will hang it, and I only 
wish I had them all.' 

'It is a marvel, truly,' said -she, 'yet it would be 
unseemly for a man of thy dignity to hang a reptile 
such as this. Do not meddle with it, but let it go.' 

'Woe betide me,' he cried, 'if I would not hang them 
all if I could catch them, and such as I have I will 

'Verily,' said she, 'there is no reason that I should 
succour this reptile, except to prevent discredit unto 


'If I knew any cause that I should succour it, I would 
take thy counsel,' answered Manawyddan, 'but as I 
know of none, I am minded to destroy it.' 

'Do so then,' said Kicva. 

So he went up a hill and set up two forks on the top, 
and while he was doing this he saw a scholar coming 
towards him, whose clothes were tattered. Now it was 
seven years since Manawyddan had seen man or beast 
in that place, and the sight amazed him. 

'Good day to thee, my lord,' said the scholar. 

'Good greeting to thee, scholar. Whence dost thou 
come ? ' 

'From singing in England; but wherefore dost thou 

'Because for seven years no man hath visited this 

'I wander where I will,' answered the scholar. 'And 
what work art thou upon ? ' 

'I am about to hang a thief that I caught robbing 

'What manner of thief is that?' inquired the scholar. 
'I see a creature in thy hand like unto a mouse, and 
ill does it become a man of thy rank to touch a reptile 
like this. Let it go free.' 

'I will not let it go free,' cried Manawyddan. 'I 
caught it robbing me, and it shall suffer the doom of a 

'Lord!' said the scholar, 'sooner than see a man like 
thee at such a work, I would give thee a pound which 
I have received as alms to let it go free.' 

'I will not let it go free, neither will I sell it.' 

'As thou wilt, lord,' answered the scholar, and he 
went his way. 

Manawyddan was placing the cross-beam on tue 
two forked sticks, where the mouse was to hang, when 
a priest rode past. 


'Good-day to thee, lord; and what art thou doing?' 

'I am hanging a thief that I caught robbing me.' 

'What manner of thief, lord?' 

'A creature in the form of a mouse. It has been 
robbing me, and it shall suffer the doom of a thief.' 

'Lord,' said the priest, 'sooner than see thee touch 
this reptile, I would purchase its freedom.' 

'I will neither sell it nor set it free.' 

'It is true that a mouse is worth nothing, but rather 
than see thee defile thyself with touching such a reptile 
as this, I will give thee three pounds for it.' 

'I will not take any price for it. It shall be hanged 
as it deserves.' 

'Willingly, my lord, if it is thy pleasure.' And the 
priest went his way. 

Then Manawyddan noosed the string about the mouse's 
neck, and was about to draw it tight when a bishop, 
with a great following and horses bearing huge packs, 
came by. 

'What work art thou upon?' asked the bishop, draw- 
ing rein. 

'Hanging a thief that I caught robbing me.' 

'But is not that a mouse that I see in thine hand?' 
asked the bishop. 

'Yes; that is the thief,' answered Manawyddan. 

'Well, since I have come at the doom of this reptile, 
I will ransom it of thee for seven pounds, rather than 
see a man of thy rank touch it. Loose it, and let it go!' 

'I will not let it loose.' 

'I will give thee four and twenty pounds to set it 
free,' said the bishop. 

'I will not set it free for as much again.' 

'If thou wilt not set it free for this, I will give thee 
a' 1 the horses thou seest and the seven loads of baggage.' 

' I will not set it free.' 

'Then tell me at what price thou wilt loose it, and I 
will give it.' 


'The spell must be taken off Rhiannon and Pryderi,' 
said Manawyddan. 

'That shall be done.' 

'But not yet will I loose the mouse. The charm 
that has been cast over all my lands must be taken off 

'This shall be done also.' 

'But not yet will I loose the mouse till I know who 
she is.' 

'She is my wife,' answered the bishop. 

'And wherefore came she to me?' asked Manawyd- 

'To despoil thee,' replied the bishop, 'for it is I who 
cast the charm over thy lands, to avenge Gwawl the 
son of Clud my friend. And it was I who threw the 
spell upon Pryderi to avenge Gwawl for the trick that 
had been played on him in the game of Badger in the 
Bag. And not only was I wroth, but my people like- 
wise, and when it was known that thou wast come to 
dwell in the land, they besought me much to change 
them into mice, that they might eat thy corn. The 
first and the second nights it was the men of my own 
house that destroyed thy two fields, but on the third 
night my wife and her ladies came to me and begged 
me to change them also into the shape of mice, that 
they might take part in avenging Gwawl. Therefore I 
changed them. Yet had she not been ill and slow of 
foot, thou couldst not have overtaken her. Still, since 
she was caught, I will restore thee Pryderi and Rhiannon, 
and will take the charm from off thy lands. I have 
told thee who she is; so now set her free.' 

'I will not set her free,' answered Manawyddan, 'till 
thou swear that no vengeance shall be taken for this, 
either upon Pryderi, or upon Rhiannon, or on me.' 

'I grant thee this boon; and thou hast done wisely to 
ask it, for on thy head would have lit all the trouble. 
Set now my wife free.' 


'I will not set her free till Pryderi and Rhiannon are 
with me.' 

'Behold, here they come,' said the bishop. 

Then Manawyddan held out his hands and greeted 
Pryderi and Rhiannon, and they seated themselves 
joyfully on the grass. 

'Ah, lord, hast thou not received all thou didst ask?' 
said the bishop. 'Set now my wife free!' 

'That I will gladly,' answered Manawyddan, unloos- 
ing the cord from her neck, and as he did so the bishop 
struck her with his staff, and she turned into a young 
woman, the fairest that ever was seen. 

'Look around upon thy land,' said he, 'and thou 
wilt see it all tilled and peopled, as it was long ago.' 
And Manawyddan looked, and saw corn growing in 
the fields, and cows and sheep grazing on the hill-side, 
and huts for the people to dwell in. And he was satisfied 
in his soul, but one more question he put to the bishop. 

'What spell didst thou lay upon Pryderi and Rhian- 

' Pryderi has had the knockers of the gate of my palace 
hung about him, and Rhiannon has carried the col- 
lars of my asses around her neck,' said the bishop 
with a smile. 

From the 'Mabinogion.' 


ONCE upon a time there dwelt in the land of Erin a young 
man who was seeking a wife, and of all the maidens 
round about none pleased him as well as the only daugh- 
ter of a farmer. The girl was willing and the father was 
willing, and very soon they were married and went to 
live at the farm. By and bye the season came when 
they must cut the peats and pile them up to dry, so 
that they might have fires in the winter. So on a fine 
day the girl and her husband, and the father and his 
wife all went out upon the moor. 

They worked hard for many hours, and at length 
grew hungry, so the young woman was sent home to 
bring them food, and also to give the horses their dinner. 
When she went into the stable, she suddenly saw the 
heavy pack-saddle of the speckled mare just over her 
head, and she jumped and said to herself: 

'Suppose that pack-saddle were to fall and kill me, 
how dreadful it would be!' and she sat down just under 
the pack-saddle she was so much afraid of, and began 
to cry. 

Now the others out on the moor grew hungrier and 

'What can have become of her?' asked they, and at 
length the mother declared that she would wait no longer, 
and must go and see what had happened. 

As the bride was nowhere in the kitchen or the dairy, 


the old woman went into the stable, where she found 
her daughter weeping bitterly. 

'What is the matter, my dove?' and the girl answered, 
between her sobs: 

'When I came in and saw the pack-saddle over my 
head, I thought how dreadful it would be if it fell and 
killed me,' and she cried louder than before. 

The old woman struck her hands together: 'Ah, to 
think of it! If that were to be, what should I do?' and 
she sat down by her daughter, and they both wrung 
their hands and let their tears flow. 

'Something strange must have occurred,' exclaimed 
the old farmer on the moor, who by this time was not 
only hungry, but cross. 'I must go after them.' And 
he went and found them in the stable. 

'What is the matter?' asked he. 

'Oh!' replied his wife, 'when our daughter came home, 
did she not see the pack-saddle over her head, and she 
thought how dreadful it would be if it were to fall and 
kill her.' 

'Ah, to think of it!' exclaimed he, striking his hands 
together, and he sat down beside them and wept 

As soon as night fell the young man returned full 
of hunger, and there they were, all crying together in 
the stable. 

'What is the matter?' asked he. 

'When thy wife came home,' answered the farmer, 
'she saw the pack-saddle over her head, and she thought 
how dreadful it would be if it were to fall and kill her.' 

'Well, but it didn't fall,' replied the young man, and 
he went off to the kitchen to get some supper, leaving 
them to cry as long as they liked. 

The next morning he got up with the sun, and said 
to the old man and to the old woman and to his wife: 

'Farewell: my foot shall not return to the house till 


I have found other three people as silly as you,' and he 
walked away till he came to the town, and seeing the 
door of a cottage standing open wide, he entered. No 
man was present, but only some women spinning at 
their wheels. 

'You do not belong to this town,' said he. 

'You speak truth,' they answered, 'nor you either?' 

'I do not,' replied he, 'but is it a good place to live 

The women looked at each other. 

'The men of the town are so silly that we can make 
them believe anything we please,' said they. 

'Well, here is a gold ring,' replied he, 'and I will 
give it to the one amongst you who can make her 
husband believe the most impossible thing,' and he 
left them. 

As soon as the first husband came home his wife said 
to him: 

'Thou art sick!' 

'Am I?' asked he. 

'Yes, thou art,' she answered; 'take off thy clothes 
and lie down.' 

So he did, and when he was in his bed his wife went 
to him and said: 

'Thou art dead.' 

'Oh, am I?' asked he. 

'Thou art,' said she; 'shut thine eyes and stir neither 
hand nor foot.' 

And dead he felt sure he was. 

Soon the second man came home, and his wife said 
to him: 

'You are not my husband!' 

'Oh, am I not?' asked he. 

'No, it is not you,' answered she, so he went away 
and slept in the wood 


When the third man arrived his wife gave him his 
supper, and after that he went to bed, just as usual. 
The next morning a boy knocked at the door, bidding 
him attend the burial of the man who was dead, and 
he was just going to get up when his wife stopped him. 

'Time enough,' said she, and he lay still till he heard 
the funeral passing the window. 

'Now rise, and be quick,' called the wife, and the 
man jumped out of bed in a great hurry, and began to 
look about him. 

' Why, where are my clothes ? ' asked he. 

'Silly that you are, they are on your back, of course,' 
answered the woman. 

' Are they ? ' said he. 

'They are,' said she, 'and make haste lest the bury- 
ing be ended before you get there.' 

Then off he went, running hard, and when the mourn- 
ers saw a man coming towards them with nothing on 
but his nightshirt, they forgot in their fright what they 
were there for, and fled to hide themselves. And the 
naked man stood alone at the head of the coffin. 

Very soon a man came out of the wood and spoke 
to him. 

' Do you know me ? ' 

'Not I,' answered the naked man. 'I do not know 

' But why are you naked ? ' asked the first man. 

'Am I naked? My wife told me that I had all my 
clothes on,' answered he. 

'And my wife told me that I myself was dead,' said 
the man in the coffin. 

But at the sound of his voice the two men were so 
terrified that they ran straight home, and the man in 
the coffin got up and followed them, and it was his wife 
that gained the gold ring, as he had been sillier than 
the other two. 

From ' West Highland Tales.' 


ONCE there lived a farmer who had three daughters, 
and good useful girls they were, up with the sun, and 
doing all the work of the house. One morning they 
all ran down to the river to wash their clothes, when a 
hoodie came round and sat on a tree close by. 

'Wilt thou wed me, thou farmer's daughter?' he said 
to the eldest. 

'Indeed I won't wed thee,' she answered, 'an ugly 
brute is the hoodie.' And the bird, much offended, 
spread his wings and flew away. But the following 
day he came back again, and said to the second girl: 

'Wilt thou wed me. farmer's daughter?' 

'Indeed I will not,' answered she, 'an ugly brute is 
the hoodie.' And the hoodie was more angry than 
before, and went away in a rage. However, after a 
night's rest he was in a better temper, and thought that 
he might be more lucky the third time, so back he went 
to the old place. 

'Wilt thou wed me, farmer's daughter?' he said to 
the youngest. 

'Indeed I will wed thee; a pretty creature is the 
hoodie,' answered she, and on the morrow they were 

'I have something to ask thee,' said the hoodie when 
they were far away in his own house. 'Wouldst thou 
rather I should be a hoodie by day and a man by night, 
or a man by day and a hoodie by night ? ' 


CK&rtTVRE.- 15- WtE.- HOODIE 


The girl was surprised at his words, for she did not 
know that he could be anything but a hoodie at all 

Still she said nothing of this, and only replied, 'I 
would rather thou wert a man by day and a hoodie 
by night.' And so he was; and a handsomer man or a 
more beautiful hoodie never was seen. The girl loved 
them both, and never wished for things to be different. 

By and bye they had a son, and very pleased they 
both were. But in the night soft music was heard steal- 
ing close towards the house, and every man slept, 
and the mother slept also. When they woke again it 
was morning, and the baby was gone. High and low 
they looked for it, but nowhere could they find it, and 
the farmer, who had come to see his daughter, was greatly 
grieved, as he feared it might be thought that he had 
stolen it, because he did not want the hoodie for a son- 

The next year the hoodie's wife had another son, and 
this time a watch was set at every door. But it was 
no use. In vain they all determined that, come what 
might, they would not close their eyes; at the first 
note of music they all fell asleep, and when the farmer 
arrived in the morning to see his grandson, he found 
them all weeping, for. while they had slept the baby 
had vanished. 

Well, the next year it all happened again, and the 
hoodie's wife was so unhappy that her husband resolved 
to take her away to another house he had, and her sisters 
with her for company. So they set out in a coach which 
was big enough to hold them, and had not gone very 
far when the hoodie suddenly said: 

'You are sure you have not forgotten anything?' 

'I have forgotten my coarse comb,' answered the 
wife, feeling in her pocket, and as she spoke the coach 
changed into a withered faggot, and the man became a 
hoodie again, and flew away. 


The two sisters returned home, but the wife followed 
the hoodie. Sometimes she would see him on a hill- 
top, and then would hasten after him, hoping to catch 
him. But by the time she had got to the top of the 
hill, he would be in the valley on the other side. When 
night came, and she was tired, she looked about for 
some place to rest, and glad she was to see a little house 
full of light straight in front of her, and she hurried towards 
it as fast as she could. 

At the door stood a little boy, and the sight of him 
filled her heart with pleasure, she did not know why. 
A woman came out, and bade her welcome, and set 
before her food, and gave her a soft bed to lie on. And 
the hoodie's wife lay down, and so tired was she, that it 
seemed to her but a moment before the sun rose, and 
she awoke again. From hill to hill she went after the 
hoodie, and sometimes she saw him on the top; but 
when she got to the top, he had flown into the valley, 
and when she reached the valley he was on the top of 
another hill -- and so it happened till night came round 
again. Then she looked round for some place to rest 
in, and she beheld a little house of light before her, and 
fast she hurried towards it. At the door stood a little 
boy, and her heart was filled with pleasure at the sight 
of him, she did not know why. After that a woman 
bade her enter, and set food before her, and gave her 
a soft bed to lie in. And when the sun rose she got up, 
and left the house, in search of the hoodie. This day 
everything befell as on the two other days, but when 
she reached the small house, the woman bade her keep 
awake, and if the hoodie flew into the room, to try to 
seize him. 

But the wife had walked far, and was very tired, and 
strive as she would, she fell sound asleep. 

Many hours she slept, and the hoodie entered through 
a window, and let fall a ring on her hand. The girl 
awoke with a start, and leant forward to grasp him, 


but he was already flying off, and she only seized a feather 
from his wing. And when dawn came, she got up and 
told the woman. 

'He has gone over the hill of poison,' said she, 'and 
there you cannot follow him without horse-shoes on 
your hands and feet. But I will help you. Put on this 
suit of men's clothes, and go down this road till you 
come to the smithy, and there you can learn to make 
horse-shoes for yourself.' 

The girl thanked her, and put on the clothes and 
went down the road to do her bidding. So hard did she 
work, that in a few days she was able to make the horse- 
shoes. Early one morning she set out for the hill of 
poison. On her hands and feet she went, but even with 
the horse-shoes on she had to be very careful not to 
stumble, lest some poisoned thorns should enter into 
her flesh, and she should die. But when at last she was 
over, it was only to hear that her husband was to be 
married that day to the daughter of a great lord. 

Now there was to be a race in the town, and every- 
one meant to be there, except the stranger who had 
come over the hill of poison everyone, that is, but 
the cook, who was to make the bridal supper. Greatly 
he loved races, and sore was his heart to think that one 
should be run without his seeing it, so when he beheld 
a woman whom he did not know coming along the street, 
hope sprang up in him. 

'Will you cook the wedding feast in place of me?' 
he said, 'and I will pay you well when I return from 
the race.' 

Gladly she agreed, and cooked the feast in a kitchen 
that looked into the great hall, where the company were 
to eat it. After that she watched the seat where the 
bridegroom was sitting, and taking a plateful of the 
broth, she dropped the ring and the feather into it, and 
set it herself before him. 


With the first spoonful he took up the ring, and a 
thrill ran through him; in the second he beheld the feather 
and rose from his chair. 

'Who has cooked this feast?' asked he, and the real 
cook, who had come back from the race, was brought 
before him. 

'He may be the cook, but he did not cook this feast,' 
said the bridegroom, and then inquiry was made, and the 
girl was summoned to the great hall. 

'That is my married wife,' he declared, 'and no one 
else will I have,' and at that very moment the spells fell 
off him, and never more would he be a hoodie. Happy 
indeed were they to be together again, and little did they 
mind that the hill of poison took long to cross, for she 
had to go some way forwards, and then throw the horse- 
shoes back for him to put on. Still, at last they were 
over, and they went back the way she had come, and 
stopped at the three houses in order to take their little 
sons to their own home. 

But the story never says who had stolen them, nor 
what the coarse comb had to do with it. 

From ' West Highland Tales.' 


ONCE upon a time there lived in France a man whose 
name was Jalm Riou. You might have walked a whole 
day without meeting any one happier or more contented, 
for he had a large farm, plenty of money, and, above all, 
a daughter called Barbaik, the most graceful dancer and 
the best-dressed girl in the whole country side. When 
she appeared on holidays in her embroidered cap, five 
petticoats, each one a little shorter than the other, and 
shoes with silver buckles, the women were all filled with 
envy, but little cared Barbaik what they might whisper 
behind her back as long as she knew that her clothes 
were finer than any one else's and that she had more 
partners than any other girl. 

Now amongst all the young men who wanted to marry 
Barbaik, the one whose heart was most set on her was 
her father's head man, but as his manners were rough 
and he was exceedingly ugly she would have nothing to 
say to him, and, what was worse, often made fun of 
him with the rest. 

Jegu, for that was his name, of course heard of this, 
and it made Him very unhappy. Still, he would not 
leave the farm, and look for work elsewhere, as he might 
have done, for then he would never see Barbaik at all, 
and what was life worth to him without that? 

One evening he was bringing back his horses from the 
fields, and stopped at a little lake on the way home to 
let them drink. He was tired with a long day's work, 


and stood with his hand on the mane of one of the ani- 
mals, waiting till they had done, and thinking all the 
while of Barba'ik, when a voice came out of the gorse 
close by. 

'What is the matter, Jegu? You mustn't despair 

The young man glanced up in surprise, and asked 
who was there. 

'It is I, the brownie of the lake,' replied the voice. 

' But where are you ? ' inquired Jegu. 

'Look close, and you will see me among the reeds in 
the form of a little green frog. I can take,' he added 
proudly, 'any shape I choose, and even, which is much 
harder, be invisible if I want to.' 

'Then show yourself to me in the shape in which your 
family generally appear,' replied Jegu. 

'Certainly, if you wish,' and the frog jumped on the 
back of one of the horses, and changed into a little dwarf, 
all dressed green. 

This transformation rather frightened Jegu, but the 
brownie bade him have no fears, for he would not do 
him any harm; indeed, he hoped that Jegu might find 
him of some use. 

'But why should you take all this interest in me?' 
asked the peasant suspiciously. 

'Because of a service you did me last winter, which 
I have never forgotten,' answered the little fellow. 'You 
know, I am sure, that the korigans* who dwell in the 
White Corn country have declared war on my people, 
because they say that they are the friends of man. 
We were therefore obliged to take refuge in distant 
lands, and to hide ourselves at first under different 
animal shapes. Since that time, partly from habit 
and partly to amuse ourselves, we have continued 
to transform ourselves, and it was in this way that I 
got to know you.' 

*The spiteful fairies. 


'How?' exclaimed Jegu, filled with astonishment. 

'Do you remember when you were digging in the 
field near the river, three months ago, you found a robin 
redbreast caught in a net?' 

'Yes,' answered Jegu, 'I remember it very well, and 
I opened the net and let him go.' 

'Well, I was that robin redbreast, and ever since I 
have vowed to be your friend, and as you want to marry 
Barbai'k, I will prove the truth of what I say by helping 
you to do so.' 

'Ah! my little brownie, if you can do that, there is 
nothing I won't give you, except my soul.' 

'Then let me alone,' rejoined the dwarf, 'and I prom- 
ise you that in a very few months you shall be master 
of the farm and of Barba'ik.' 

'But how are you going to do it?' exclaimed Jegu 

'That is my affair. Perhaps I may tell you later. 
Meanwhile you just eat and sleep, and don't worry 
yourself about anything.' 

Jegu declared that nothing could be easier, and then 
taking off his hat, he thanked the dwarf heartily, and 
led his horses back to the farm. 

Next morning was a holiday, and Barba'ik was awake 
earlier than usual, as she wished to get through her work 
as soon as possible, and be ready to start for a dance 
which was to be held some distance off. She went first 
to the cow-house, which it was her duty to keep clean, 
but to her amazement she found fresh straw put down, 
the racks filled with hay, the cows milked, and the pails 
standing neatly in a row. t 

'Of course, Jegu must have done this in the hope of 
my giving him a dance,' she thought to herself, and 
when she met him outside the door she stopped and 
thanked him for his help. To be sure, Jegu only replied 
roughly that he didn't know what she was talking about, 


but this answer made her feel all the more certain that 
it was he and nobody else. 

The same thing took place every day, and never had 
the cow-house been so clean nor the cows so fat. Morn- 
ing and evening Barbaik found her earthen pots full 
of milk and a pound of butter freshly churned, orna- 
mented with leaves. At the end of a few weeks she 
grew so used to this state of affairs that she only got 
up just in time to prepare breakfast. 

Soon even this grew to be unnecessary, for a day 
arrived when, coming downstairs, she discovered that 
the house was swept, the furniture polished, the fire lit, 
and the food ready, so that she had nothing to do except 
to ring the great bell which summoned the labourers 
from the fields to come and eat it. This, also, she 
thought was the work of Jegu, and she could not 
help feeling that a husband of this sort would be very 
useful to a girl who liked to lie in bed and to amuse 

Indeed, Barbaik had only to express a wish for it to 
be satisfied. If the wind was cold or the sun was hot 
and she was afraid to go out lest her complexion should 
be spoilt, she need only to run down to the spring close 
by and say softly, 'I should like my churns to be full, 
and my wet linen to be stretched on the hedge to dry,' 
and she need never give another thought to the matter. 

If she found the rye bread too hard to bake, or the 
oven taking too long to heat, she just murmured, 'I 
should like to see my six loaves on the shelf above the 
bread box,' and two hours after there they were. 

If she was too lazy to walk all the way to market 
along a dirty road, she would say out loud the night 
before, 'Why am I not already back from Morlaix with 
my milk pot empty, my butter bowl inside it, a pound of 
wild cherries on my wooden plate, and the money I have 
gained in my apron pocket?' and in the morning when 
she got up, lo and behold! there were standing at the 


foot of her bed the empty milk pot with the butter bowl 
inside, the black cherries on the wooden plate, and six 
new pieces of silver in the pocket of her apron. And 
she believed that all this was owing to Jegu, and she 
could no longer do without him, even in her thoughts. 

When things had reached this pass, the brownie told 
the young man that he had better ask Barbai'k to marry 
him, and this time the girl did not turn rudely away, 
but listened patiently to the end. In her eyes he was 
as ugly and awkward as ever, but he would certainly 
make a most useful husband, and she could sleep every 
morning till breakfast time, just like a young lady, and 
as for the rest of the day, it would not be half long enough 
for all she meant to do. She would wear the beautiful 
dresses that came when she wished for them, and visit 
her neighbours, who would be dying of envy all the 
while, and she would be able to dance as much as she 
wished. Jegu would always be there to work for her, 
and save for her, and watch over her. So, like a well- 
brought-up girl, Barba'ik answered that it should be 
as her father pleased, knowing quite well that old Riou 
had often said that after he was dead there was no one 
so capable of carrying on the farm. 

The marriage took place the following month, and a 
few days later the old man died quite suddenly. Now 
Jegu had everything to see to himself, and somehow it 
did not seem so easy as when the farmer was alive. But 
once more the brownie stepped in, and was better than 
ten labourers. It was he who ploughed and sowed and 
reaped, and if, as happened occasionally, it was needful 
to get the work done quickly, the brownie called in some 
of his friends, and as soon as it was light a host of 
little dwarfs might have been seen in the fields, busy 
with hoe, fork or sickle. But by the time the people 
were about all was finished, and the little fellows had 


And all the payment the brownie ever asked for was 
a bowl of broth. 

From the very day of her marriage Barba'ik had noted 
with surprise and rage that things ceased to be done 
for her as they had been done all the weeks and months 
before. She complained to Jegu of his laziness, and 
he only stared at her, not understanding what she was 
talking about. But the brownie, who was standing 
by, burst out laughing, and confessed that all the good 
offices she spoke of had been performed by him, for 
the sake of Jegu, but that now he had other business 
to do, and it was high time that she looked after her 
house herself. 

Barba'ik was furious. Each morning when she was 
obliged to get up before dawn to milk the cows and go 
to market, and each evening when she had to sit up till 
midnight in order to churn the butter, her heart was 
filled with rage against the brownie who had caused her 
to expect a life of ease and pleasure. But when she 
looked at Jegu and beheld his red face, squinting eyes, 
and untidy hair, her anger was doubled. 

'If it had not been for yoii, you miserable dwarf!' 
she would say between her teeth, 'if it had not been for 
you I should never have married that man, and I should 
still have been going to dances, where the young men 
would have brought me presents of nuts and cherries, 
and told me that I was the prettiest girl in the parish. 
While now I can receive no presents except from my 
husband. I can never dance, except with my husband. 
Oh, you wretched dwarf, I will never, never forgive 

In spite of her fierce words, no one knew better than 
Barba'ik how to put her pride in her pocket when it 
suited her, and after receiving an invitation to a wedding, 
she begged the brownie to get her a horse to ride there. 


To her great joy he consented, bidding her set out for 
the city of the dwarfs and to tell them exactly what she 
wanted. Full of excitement, Barbaik started on her 
journey. It was not long, and when she reached the 
town she went straight tc the dwarfs, who were holding 
counsel in a wide green place, and said to them, 'Listen, 
my friends! I have come to beg you to lend me a black 
horse, with eyes, a mouth, ears, bridle and saddle.' 

She had hardly spoken when the horse appeared, and 
mounting on his back she started for the village where 
the wedding was to be held. 

At first she was so delighted with the chance of a 
holiday from the work which she hated, that she noticed 
nothing, but very soon it struck her as odd that as she 
passed along the roads full of people they all laughed as 
they looked at her horse. At length she caught some 
words uttered by one man to another, 'Why, the farmer's 
wife has sold her horse's tail!' and turned in her saddle. 
Yes; it was true. Her horse had no tail! She had for- 
gotten to ask for one, and the wicked dwarfs had carried 
out her orders to the letter! 

'Well, at any rate, I shall soon be there,' she thought, 
and shaking the reins, tried to urge the horse to a gallop. 
But it was of no use; he declined to move out of a walk; 
and she was forced to hear all the jokes that were made 
upon her. 

In the evening she returned to the farm more angry 
than ever, and cjuite determined to revenge herself on 
the brownie whenever she had the chance, which hap- 
pened to be very soon. 

It was the spring, and just the time of year when the 
dwarfs held their fete, so one day the brownie asked 
Jegu if he might bring his friends to have supper in the 
great barn, and whether he would allow them to dance 
there. Of course, Jegu was only too pleased to be able 
to do anything for the brownie, and he ordered Barbaik 


to spread her best table-cloths in the barn, and to make 
a quantity of little loaves and pancakes, and, besides, 
to keep all the milk given by the cows that morning. 
He expected she would refuse, as he knew she hated the 
dwarfs, but she said nothing, and prepared the supper 
as he had bidden her. 

When all was ready, the dwarfs, in new green suits, 
came bustling in, very happy and merry, and took their 
seats at the table. But in a moment they all sprang 
up with a cry, and ran away screaming, for Barbai'k 
had placed pans of hot coals under their feet, and all 
their poor little toes were burnt. 

'You won't forget that in a hurry,' she said, smiling 
grimly to herself, but in a moment they were back again 
with large pots of water, which they poured on the fire. 
Then they joined hands and danced round it, singing: 

Wicked traitress, Barbe Riou, 
Our poor toes are burned by you ; 
Now we hurry from your hall 
Bad luck light upon you all. 

That evening they left the country for ever, and Jegu, 
without their help, grew poorer and poorer, and at last 
died of misery, while Barba'ik was glad to find work in 
the market of Morlaix. 

From ' Le Foyer Breton,' par E. Souvestre 


THERE was once a king and queen who had a little boy, 
and they called his name Kilwch. The queen, his mother, 
fell ill soon after his birth, and as she could not take care 
of him herself she sent him to a woman she knew up 
in the mountains, so that he might learn to go out in 
all weathers, and bear heat and cold, and grow tall and 
strong. Kilwch was quite happy with his nurse, and 
ran races and climbed hills with the children who were 
his playfellows, and in the winter, when the snow lay 
on the ground, sometimes a man with a harp would 
stop and beg for shelter, and in return would sing them 
songs of strange things that had happened in the years 
gone by. 

But long before this, changes had taken place in the 
court of Kilwch's father. Soon after she had sent her 
baby away the queen became much worse, and at length, 
seeing that she was going to die, she called her husband 
to her and said: 

'Never again shall I rise from this bed, and by and 
bye thou wilt take another wife. But lest she should 
make thee forget thy son, I charge thee that thou take 
not a wife until thou see a briar with two blossoms upon 
my grave.' And this he promised her. Then she fur- 
ther bade him to see to her grave that nothing might 
grow thereon. This likewise he promised her, and soon 
she died, and for seven years the king sent a man every 
morning to see that nothing was growing on the queen's 
grave, but at the end of seven years he forgot. 


One day when the king was out hunting he rode past 
the place where the queen lay buried, and there he saw 
a briar growing with two blossoms on it. 

'It is time that I took a wife,' said he, and after long 
looking he found one. But he did not tell her about 
his son; indeed he hardly remembered that he had one 
till she heard it at last from an old woman whom she 
had gone to visit. And the new queen was very pleased, 
and sent messengers to fetch the boy, and in his father's 
court he stayed, while the years went by till one day 
the queen told him that a prophecy had foretold that 
he was to win for his wife Olwen the daughter of Yspad- 
daden Penkawr. 

When he heard this Kilwch felt proud and happy. 
Surely he must be a man now, he thought, or there would 
be no talk of a wife for him, and his mind dwelt all day 
upon his promised bride, and what she would be like 
when he beheld her. 

'What aileth thee, my son?' asked his father at last, 
when Kilwch had forgotten something he had been 
bidden to do, and Kilwch blushed red as he answered: 

'My stepmother says that none but Olwen, the 
daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr, shall be my wife.' 

'That will be easily fulfilled,' replied his father. 
'Arthur the king is thy cousin. Go therefore unto 
him and beg him to cut thy hair, and to grant thee this 

Then the youth pricked forth upon a dapple grey horse 
of four years old, with a bridle of linked gold, and gold 
upon his saddle. In his hand he bore two spears of 
silver with heads of steel; a war-horn of ivory was slung 
round his shoulder, and by his side hung a golden sword. 
Before him were two brindled white-breasted grey- 
hounds with collars of rubies round their necks, and 
the one that was on the left side bounded across to the 
right side, and the one on the right to the left, and like 
two sea-swallows sported round him. And his horse 


cast up four sods with his four hoofs, like four swallows 
in the air about his head, now above, now below. About 
him was a robe of purple, and an apple of gold was at 
each corner, and every one of the apples was of the value 
of a hundred cows. And the blades of grass bent not 
beneath him, so light were his horse's feet as he jour- 
neyed toward the gate of Arthur's palace. 

'Is there a porter?' cried Kilwch, looking round for 
some one to open the gate. 

'There is; and I am Arthur's porter every first day 
of January,' answered a man coming out to him. 'The 
rest of the year there are other porters, and among 
them Pennpingyon, who goes upon his head to save his 

'Well, open the portal, I say.' 

'No, that I may not do, for none can enter save the 
son of a king or a pedlar who has goods to sell. But 
elsewhere there will be food for thy dogs and hay for thy 
horse, and for thee collops cooked and peppered, and 
sweet wine shall be served in the guest chamber.' 

'That will not do for me,' answered Kilwch. 'If 
thou wilt not open the gate I will send up three shouts 
that shall be heard from Cornwall unto the north, and 
yet again to Ireland.' 

'Whatsoever clamour thou mayest make,' spake 
Glewlwyd the porter, 'thou shalt not enter until I first 
go and speak with Arthur.' 

Then Glewlwyd went into the hall, and Arthur said 
to him: 

'Hast thou news from the gate?' and the porter 
answered : 

'Far have I travelled, both in this island and else- 
where, and many kingly men have I seen; but never yet 
have I beheld one equal in majesty to him who now 
stands at the door.' 

'If walking thou didst enter here, return thou 


running,' replied Arthur, 'and let every one that opens 
and shuts the eye show him respect and serve him, for 
it is not meet to keep such a man in the wind and rain.' 
So Glewlwyd unbarred the gate and Kilwch rode in 
upon his charger. 

'Greeting unto thee, O ruler of this land,' cried he, 
'and greeting no less to the lowest than to the highest.' 

'Greeting to thee also,' answered Arthur. 'Sit thou 
between two of my warriors, and thou shalt have min- 
strels before thee and all that belongs to one born to 
be a king, while thou remainest in my palace.' 

'I am not come,' replied Kilwch, 'for meat and drink, 
but to obtain a boon, and if thou grant it me I 
will pay it back, and will carry thy praise to the four 
winds of heaven. But if thou wilt not grant it to me, 
then I will proclaim thy discourtesy wherever thy name 
is known.' 

'What thou askest that shalt thou receive,' said Arthur, 
'as far as the wind dries and the rain moistens, and 
the sun revolves and the sea encircles and the earth 
extends. Save only my ship and my mantle, my sword 
and my lance, my shield and my dagger, and Guinevefe 
my wife.' 

'I would that thou bless my hair,' spake Kilwch, 
and Arthur answered: 

'That shall be granted thee.' 

Forthwith he bade his men fetch him a comb of gold 
and a scissors with loops of silver, and he combed the 
hair of Kilwch his guest. 

'Tell me who thou art,' he said, 'for my heart warms 
to thee, and I feel thou art come of my blood.' 

'I am Kilwch, son of Kilydd,' replied the youth. 

'Then my cousin thou art in truth,' replied Arthur, 
'and whatsoever boon thou mayest ask thou shalt 

'The boon I crave is that thou mayest win for me 
Olwen, the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr, and this 


boon I seek likewise at the hands of thy warriors. From 
Sol, who can stand all day upon one foot; from Ossol, 
who, if he were to find himself on the top of the highest 
mountain in the world, could make it into a level plain 
in the beat of a bird's wing; from Clust, who, though he 
were buried under the earth, could yet hear the ant leave 
her nest fifty miles away: from these and from Kai and 
from Bedwyr and from all thy mighty men I crave this 

'O Kilwch,' said Arthur, 'never have I heard of the 
maiden of whom thou speakest, nor of her kindred, but 
I will send messengers to seek her if thou wilt give me 

'From this night to the end of the year right willingly 
will I grant thee,' replied Kilwch; but when the end of 
the year came and the messengers returned Kilwch was 
wroth, and spoke rough words to Arthur. 

It was Kai, the boldest of the warriors and the swiftest 
of foot - - he who could pass nine nights without sleep, 
and nine days beneath the water -- that answered him: 

'Rash youth that thou art, darest thou speak thus to 
Arthur ? Come with us, and we will not part company 
till we have won that maiden, or till thou confess that 
there is none such in the world.' 

Then Arthur summoned his five best men and bade 
them go with Kilwch. There was Bedwyr the one- 
handed, Kai's comrade and brother in arms, the swiftest 
man in Britain save Arthur; there was Kynddelig, who 
knew the paths in a land where he had never been as 
surely as he did those of his own country; there was 
Gwrhyr, that could speak all tongues; and Gwalchmai 
the son of Gwyar, who never returned till he had gained 
what he sought; and last of all there was Menw, who could 
weave a spell over them so that none might see them, 
while they could see every one. 

So these seven journeyed together till they reached 


a vast open plain in which was a fair castle. But though 
it seemed so close it was not until the evening of the third 
day that they really drew near to it, and in front of it a 
flock of sheep was spread, so many in number that there 
seemed no end to them. A shepherd stood on a mound 
watching over them, and by his side was a dog, as large 
as a horse nine winters old. 

' Whose is this castle, O herdsman ? ' asked the 

'Stupid are ye truly,' answered the herdsman. 'All 
the world knows that this is the castle of Yspaddaden 

' And who art thou ? ' 

'I am called Custennin, brother of Yspaddaden, and 
ill has he treated me. And who are you, and what do 
you here ? ' 

'We come from Arthur the king, to seek Olwen the 
daughter of Yspaddaden,' but at this news the shepherd 
gave a cry: 

'O men, be warned and turn back while there is yet 
time. Others have gone on that quest, but none have 
escaped to tell the tale,' and he rose to his feet as if to 
leave them. Then Kilwch held out to him a ring of gold, 
and he tried to put it on his finger, but it was too small, 
so he placed it in his glove, and went home and gave it 
to his wife. 

'Whence came this ring?' asked she, 'for such good 
luck is not wont to befall thee.' 

'The man to whom this ring belonged thou shalt 
see here in the evening,' answered the shepherd; 'he is 
Kilwch, son of Kilydd, cousin to king Arthur, and he 
has come to seek Olwen.' And when the wife heard 
that she knew that Kilwch was her nephew, and her 
heart yearned after him, half with joy at the thought 
of seeing him, and half with sorrow for the doom she 

Soon they heard steps approaching, and Kai and the 


rest entered into the house and ate and drank. After 
that the woman opened a chest, and out of it came a 
youth with curling yellow hair. 

'It is a pity to hide him thus,' said Gwrhyr, 'for well 
I know that he has done no evil.' 

'Three and twenty of my sons has Yspaddaden 
slain, and I have no more hope of saving this 
one,' replied she, and Kai was full of sorrow and 

'Let him come with me and be my comrade, and he 
shall never be slain unless I am slain also.' And so it 
was agreed. 

'What is your errand here?' asked the woman. 

'We seek Olwen the maiden for this youth,' answered 
Kai; 'does she ever come hither so that she may be 
seen ? ' 

'She comes every Saturday to wash her hair, and in 
the vessel where she washes she leaves all her rings, 
and never does she so much as send a messenger to fetch 

'Will she come if she is bidden?' asked Kai, 

'She will come; but unless you pledge me your faith 
that you will not harm her I will not fetch her.' 

'We pledge it,' said they, and the maiden came. 

A fair sight was she in a robe of flame-coloured 
silk, with a collar of ruddy gold about her neck, bright 
with emeralds and rubies. More yellow was her head 
than the flower of the broom, and her skin was 
whiter than the foam of the wave, and fairer were her 
hands than the blossom of the wood anemone. Four 
white trefoils sprang up where she trod, and therefore 
was she called Olwen. 

She entered, and sat down on a bench beside Kilwch, 
and he spake to her: 

'Ah, maiden, since first I heard thy name I have 


loved thee -- wilt thou not come away with me from this 
evil place?' 

'That I cannot do,' answered she, 'for I have given 
my word to my father not to go without his knowledge, 
for his life will only last till I am betrothed. Whatever 
is, must be, but this counsel I will give you. Go, and 
ask me of my father, and whatsoever he shall require of 
thee grant it, and thou shalt win me; but if thou deny 
him anything thou wilt not obtain me, and it will be 
well for thee if thou escape with thy life.' 

'All this I promise,' said he. 

So she returned to the castle, and all Arthur's men 
went after her, and entered the hall. 

'Greeting to thee, Yspaddaden Penkawr,' said they. 
'We come to ask thy daughter Olwen for Kilwch, son 
of Kilydd.' 

'Come hither to-morrow and I will answer you,' replied 
Yspaddaden Penkawr, and as they rose to leave the hall 
he caught up one of the three poisoned darts that lay 
beside him and flung it in their midst. But Bedwyr 
saw and caught it, and flung it back so hard that it 
pierced the knee of Yspaddaden. 

'A gentle son-in-law, truly!' he cried, writhing with 
pain. 'I shall ever walk the worse for this rudeness. 
Cursed be the smith who forged it, and the anvil on 
which it was wrought ! ' 

That night the men slept in the house of Custennin 
the herdsman, and the next day they proceeded to the 
castle, and entered the hall, and said: 

' Yspaddaden Penkawr, give us thy daughter and thou 
shalt keep her dower. And unless thou wilt do this we 
will slay thee.' 

'Her four great grandmothers and her four great 
grandfathers yet live,' answered Yspaddaden Penkawr; 
'it is needful that I take counsel with them.' 

'Be it so; we will go to meat,' but as they turned he 
took up the second dart that lay by his side and cast 


it after them. And Menw caught it, and flung it at 
him, and wounded him in the chest, so that it came out 
at his back. 

'A gentle son-in-law, truly!' cried Yspaddaden; 'the 
iron pains me like the bite of a horse-leech. Cursed be 
the hearth whereon it was heated, and the smith who 
formed it!' 

The third day Arthur's men returned to the palace 
into the presence of Yspaddaden. 

'Shoot not at me again,' said he, 'unless you desire 
death. But lift up my eyebrows, which have fallen 
over my eyes, that I may see my son-in-law.' Then 
they arose, and as they did so Yspaddaden Penkawr 
took the third poisoned dart and cast it at them. And 
Kilwch caught it, and flung it back, and it passed through 
his eyeball, and came out on the other side of his 

'A gentle son-in-law, truly! Cursed be the fire in 
which it was forged and the man who fashioned it!' 

The next day Arthur's men came again to the palace 
and said: 

'Shoot not at us any more unless thou desirest more 
pain than even now thou hast, but give us thy daughter 
without more words.' 

' Where is he that seeks my daughter ? Let him come 
hither so that I may see him.' And Kilwch sat himself 
in a chair and spoke face to face with him. 

'Is it thou that seekest my daughter?' 

'It is I,' answered Kilwch. 

'First give me thy word>that thou wilt do nothing 
towards me that is not just, and when thou hast won for 
me that which I shall ask, then thou shalt wed my 

'I promise right willingly,' said Kilwch. 'Name what 
thou wilt.' 

'Seest thou yonder hill? Well, in one day it shall 


be rooted up and ploughed and sown, and the grain shall 
ripen, and of that wheat I will bake the cakes for my 
daughter's wedding.' 

'It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou 
mayest deem it will not be easy,' answered Kilwch, 
thinking of Ossol, under whose feet the highest moun- 
tain became straightway a plain, but Yspaddaden paid 
no heed, and continued: 

'Seest thou that field yonder? When my daughter 
was born nine bushels of flax were sown therein, and not 
one blade has sprung up. I require thee to sow fresh 
flax in the ground that my daughter may wear a veil 
spun from it on the day of her wedding.' 

' It will be easy for me to compass this.' 

'Though thou compass this there is that which thou 
wilt not compass. For thou must bring me the basket 
of Gwyddneu Garanhir which will give meat to the 
whole world. It is for thy wedding feast. Thou must 
also fetch me the drinking-horn that is never empty, 
and the harp that never ceases to play until it is bidden. 
Also the comb and scissors and razor that lie between 
the two ears of Trwyth the boar, so that I may arrange 
my hair for the wedding. And though thou get this 
yet there is that which thou wilt not get, for Trwyth the 
boar will not let any man take from him the comb and 
the scissors, unless Drudwyn the whelp hunt him. But 
no leash in the world can hold Drudwyn save the leash 
of Cant Ewin, and no collar will hold the leash except 
the collar of Canhastyr.' 

'It will be easy for me to compass this, though thou 
mayest think it will not be easy,' Kilwch answered 

'Though thou get all these things yet there is that 
which thou wilt not get. Throughout the world there 
is none that can hunt with this dog save Mabon the 
son of Modron. He was taken from his mother when 
three nights old, and it is not known where he now is, 


nor whether he is living or dead, and though thou find 
him yet the boar will never be slain save only with the 
sword of Gwrnach the giant, and if thou obtain it not 
neither shalt thou obtain my daughter.' 

'Horses shall I have, and knights from my lord 
Arthur. And I shall gain thy daughter, and thou shalt 
lose thy life.' 

The speech of Kilwch the son of Kilydd with 
Yspaddaden Penkawr was ended. 

Then Arthur's men set forth, and Kilwch with 
them, and journeyed till they reached- the largest 
castle in the world, and a black man came out to meet 

'Whence comest thou, O man?' asked they, 'and 
whose is that castle?' 

'That is the castle of Gwrnach the giant, as all the 
world knows,' answered the man, 'but no guest ever 
returned thence alive, and none may enter the gate 
except a craftsman, who brings his trade.' But little did 
Arthur's men heed his warning, and they went straight 
to the gate. 

' Open ! ' cried Gwrhyr. 

'I will not open,' replied the porter. 

' And wherefore ? ' asked Kai. 

'The knife is in the meat, and the drink is in the 
horn, and there is revelry in the hall of Gwrnach the 
giant, and save for a craftsman who brings his trade 
the gate will not be opened to-night.' 

'Verily, then, I may enter,' said Kai, 'for there is 
no better burnisher of swords than I.' 

'This will I tell Gwrnach the giant, and I will bring 
thee his answer.' 

'Bid the man come before me,' cried Gwrnach, when 
the porter had told his tale, 'for my sword stands much 
in need of polishing,' so Kai passed in and saluted Gwrnach 
the giant. 


' Is it true what I hear of thee, that thou canst burnish 
swords ? ' 

'It is true,' answered Kai. Then was the sword of 
Gwrnach brought to him. 

' Shall it be burnished white or blue ? ' said Kai, taking 
a whetstone from under his arm. 

'As thou wilt,' answered the giant, and speedily did 
Kai polish half the sword. The giant marvelled at his 
skill, and said: 

'It is a wonder that such a man as thou shouldst be 
without a companion.' 

'I have a companion, noble sir, but he has no skill in 
this art.' 

'What is his name?' asked the giant. 

'Let the porter go forth, and I will tell him how he 
may know him. The head of his lance will leave its 
shaft, and draw blood from the wind, and descend upon 
its shaft again.' So the porter opened the gate and 
Bedwyr entered. 

Now there was much talk amongst those who 
remained without when the gate closed upon Bedwyr, 
and Goreu, son of Custennin, prevailed with the porter, 
and he and his companions got in also and hid them- 

By this time the whole of the sword was polished, 
and Kai gave it into the hand of Gwrnach the giant, who 
felt it and said: 

'Thy work is good; I am content.' 

Then said Kai: 

'It is thy scabbard that hath rusted thy sword; give 
it to me that I may take out the wooden sides of it and 
put in new ones.' And he took the scabbard in one 
hand and the sword in the other, and came and stood 
behind the giant, as if he would have sheathed the sword 
in the scabbard. But with it he struck a blow at the 
head of the giant, and it rolled from his body. After 
that they despoiled the castle of its gold and jewels, 


and returned, bearing the sword of the giant, to Arthur's 

They told Arthur how they had sped, and they all 
took counsel together, and agreed that they must set 
out on the quest for Mabon the son of Modron, and 
Gwrhyr, who knew the languages of beasts and of birds, 
went with them. So they journeyed until they came to 
the nest of an ousel, and Gwrhyr spoke to her. 

'Tell me if thou knowest aught of Mabon the son of 
Modron, who was taken when three nights old from 
between his mother and the wall.' 

And the ousel answered: 

'When I first came here I was a young bird, and there 
was a smith's anvil in this place. But from that time 
no work has been done upon it, save that every evening 
I have pecked at it, till now there is not so much as the 
size of a nut remaining thereof. Yet all that time I 
have never once heard of the man you name. Still, 
there is a race of beasts older than I, and I will guide 
you to them.' 

So the ousel flew before them, till she reached the stag 
of Redynvre; but when they inquired of the stag whether 
he knew aught of Mabon he shook his head. 

'When first I came hither,' said he, 'the plain was 
bare save for one oak sapling, which grew up to be an 
oak with a hundred branches. All that is left of that 
oak is a withered stump, but never once have I heard of 
the man you name. Nevertheless, as you are Arthur's 
men, I will guide you to the place where there is an animal 
older than I;' and the stag ran before them till he reached 
the owl of Cwm Cawlwyd. But when they inquired 
of the owl if he knew aught of Mabon he shook his 

'When first I came hither,' said he, 'the valley was 
a wooded glen; then a race of men came and rooted it 
up. After that there grew a second wood, and then a 
third, which you see. Look at my wings also are they 



not withered stumps? Yet until to-day I have never 
heard of the man you name. Still, I will guide you 
to the oldest animal in the world, and the one that has 
travelled most, the eagle of Gwern Abbey.' And he 
flew before them, as fast as his old wings would carry 
him, till he reached the eagle of Gwern Abbey, but when 
they inquired of the eagle whether he knew aught of 
Mabon he shook his head. 

of TRcAytyVre "brings t"W > >e'Oer\ 

'When I first came hither,' said the eagle, 'there was 
a rock here, and every evening I pecked at the stars 
from the top of it. Now, behold, it is not even a span 
high! But only once have I heard of the man you name, 
and that w r as when I went in search of food as far as 
Llyn Llyw. I swooped down upon a salmon, and struck 
my claws into him, but he drew me down under water 


till scarcely could I escape from him. Then I sum- 
moned all my kindred to destroy him, but he made 
peace with me, and I took fifty fish spears from his back. 
Unless he may know something of the man whom you 
seek I cannot tell who may. But I will guide you to 
the place where he is.' 

So they followed the eagle, who flew before them, 
though so high was he in the sky, it was often hard to 
mark his flight. At length he stopped above a deep 
pool in a river. 

'Salmon of Llyn Llyw,' he called, 'I have come to 
thee with an embassy from Arthur to inquire if thou 
knowest aught concerning Mabon the son of Modron ? ' 
And the Salmon answered: 

'As much as I know I will tell thee. With every tide 
I go up the river, till I reach the walls of Gloucester, 
and there have I found such wrong as I never found else- 
where. And that you may see that what I say is true 
let two of you go thither on my shoulders.' So Kai and 
Gwrhyr went upon the shoulders of the salmon, and 
were carried under the walls of the prison, from which 
proceeded the sound of great weeping. 

' Who is it that thus laments in this house of stone ? ' 

'It is I, Mabon the son of Modron.' 

'Will silver or gold bring thy freedom, or only battle 
and fighting ? ' asked Gwrhyr again. 

'By fighting alone shall I be set free,' said Mabon. 

Then they sent a messenger to Arthur to tell him that 
Mabon was found, and he brought all his warriors to the 
castle of Gloucester and fell fiercely upon it; while Kai 
and Bedwyr went on the shoulders of the salmon to the 
gate of the dungeon, and broke it down and carried away 
Mabon. And he now being free returned home with 

After this, on a certain day, as Gwrhyr was walking 
across a mountain he heard a grievous cry, and he has- 


tened towards it. In a little valley he saw the heather 
burning and the fire spreading fast towards an anthill, 
and all the ants were hurrying to and fro, not know- 
ing whither to go. Gwrhyr had pity on them, and put 
out the fire, and in gratitude the ants brought him the 
nine bushels of flax seed which Yspaddaden Penkawr 
required of Kilwch. And many of the other marvels 
were done likewise by Arthur and his knights, and at 
last it came to the fight with Trwyth the boar, to obtain 
the comb and the scissors and the razor that lay between 
his ears. But hard was the boar to catch, and fiercely 
did he fight when Arthur's men gave him battle, so that 
many of them were slain. 

Up and down the country went Trwyth the boar, and 
Arthur followed after him, till they came to the Severn 
sea. There three knights caught his feet unawares 
and plunged him into the water, while one snatched the 
razor from him, and another seized the scissors. But 
before they laid hold of the comb he had shaken them all 
off, and neither man nor horse nor dog could reach him 
till he came to Cornwall, whither Arthur had sworn he 
should not go. Thither Arthur followed after him with 
his knights, and if it had been hard to win the razor and 
the scissors, the struggle for the comb was fiercer still. 
Often it seemed as if the boar would be the victor, but 
at length Arthur prevailed, and the boar was driven into 
the sea. And whether he was drowned or where he went 
no man knows to this day. 

In the end all the marvels were done, and Kilwch 
set forward, and with him Goreu, the son of Custennin, 
to Yspaddaden Penkawr, bearing in their hands the razor, 
the scissors and the comb, and Yspaddaden Penkawr was 
shaved by Kaw. 

' Is thy daughter mine now ? ' asked Kilwch. 

'She is thine,' answered Yspaddaden, 'but it is 
Arthur and none other who has won her for thee. Of 


my own free will thou shouldst never have had her, 
for now I must lose my life.' And as he spake Goreu 
the son of Custennin cut off his head, as it had been 
ordained, and Arthur's hosts returned each man to his 
own country. 

From the 'Mabinogion.'